Simple, fresh dinners. Aah, don’t you just love those? They have a way of making me feel centered, enlightened even. The simplicity in the ingredients in this dish allows the soft, nuttiness of the chickpeas to remain while being played off by the sweet, acidic zing of the cherry tomatoes. Plus, you can’t help but feel good when you can fix up a delicious, home cooked meal with little or no effort and just a few basic pantry ingredients.
I’ve made a great deal of pan-fried chickpea salads, and I find that the best type of skillet to cook them in is a cast iron one. It browns them evenly without flaking off their skins and allows you to use less oil, because we want to warm and brown the chickpeas rather than fry them. Another thing that I like is the fact that it provides an effortlessly chic, rustic, and no-fuss serving vessel. Come now, who doesn’t like that? If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use a nonstick or stainless steel; but you may have more burnt/stuck bits on the bottom. Regardless, I strongly recommend you invest in a good cast iron skillet. And use it often! Few pans can surpass a well-seasoned cast iron!
In keeping with the free-style simplicity of this dish, I have opted to keep the recipe loose and simple. So, let your tastes guide you and bon appetit!
Balsamic Pan-Fried Chickpeas
A very slight adaption of SewIndie (http://sewindie.com/2012/05/05/balsamic-chickpeas/)
Drain and rinse 2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas. In a medium, sized cast iron skillet, drizzle in some olive oil. Toss in the chickpeas, a handful of sliced green onions, a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes, one clove of garlic that has been peeled and quartered, and several good pinches of dried basil. Stir around and allow to cook for about 5-8 minutes, the chickpeas should be browned and the tomatoes should have a few charred marks. Pour in enough balsamic vinegar to coat the bottom of the pan, drizzle in a bit of honey or agave (less than a teaspoon), and a pinch of sea salt. Cook for a few more minutes and serve hot or cold in soft, whole-wheat tortillas (homemade if you have them on hand; recipe for that later).