Chef’s Recipe: Robert Belcham’s Crispy Ceci for Six
This warm chickpea salad recipe from Chef Robert Belcham is sure to be a crowd-pleaser! (Ceci is chickpea in Italian.) Chef Belcham was our guest on Anna & Kristina's Grocery Bag season 3 episode The River Cottage Meat Book.
1½ cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water
2 cups baby arugula
1 cups baby spinach
¼ cup fresh mint, torn into small pieces
2 scallions, sliced thin on a bias
¼ cup Italian parsley, leaves sliced thin
1½ tsp chili flakes
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 cups canola oil
Take the soaked chickpeas and cook them in fresh water until very tender.Season with salt at the end of the cooking process. The cooking time (45 to 60 minutes) will vary according to the age of the chickpeas. Once cooked,they can be kept in the fridge for up to two days.
In a pot that can hold at least 12 cups (the bigger the better) bring the canolaoil to a temperature of 375F. Drain the chickpeas, dry them on paper towelsand then slowly pour them into the hot oil.
While they are cooking, add to alarge bowl the arugula, spinach, scallion, mint and parsley.
After aboutfour minutes of frying, remove the chickpeas and drain well. While they arestill very hot, add them to the bowl of greens.
Season everything with salt,chilies, lemon zest, juice and, finally, the extra virgin olive oil.
Toss very well and check for seasoning. Add more of anything you like, divide among six warm bowls and serve.