Fried Chickpeas with Chorizo & Spinach

I’ve probably said this about too many things to be credible (I’m aware that I lean a bit heavily on the superlative), but this is one of my absolute favorite dishes. I crave it. I devour it. And now you will too, in less than 20 minutes. Be warned, it’s massively addictive…

I’ve been sauteeing pans of crispy pork with beans and greens for years. I start with a little bacon, ham, or sausage. When the pork is nicely browned, I stir in minced garlic, sometimes red pepper flakes or minced jalapeno, and then the cooked (usually canned navy) beans, and saute until they’re a bit crisp on the edges. I finish with a handful of chopped cabbage or chard or spinach—whatever I have in the cooler—tossing things around until the greens wilt. I might have made it for you.

I always put half away before I dig in, because otherwise I’d eat the whole pan. Of beans. Which hurts.

Mark Bittman of The New York Times posted this version, Fried Chickpeas with Chorizo & Spinach, earlier in the year and of course it caught my attention. It’s everything I love, with two fabulous additions—a splash of sherry and breadcrumbs to finish—drizzled with olive oil and run under the broiler until golden brown. Yeah.

Fried chickpeas are a revelation, by the way, with a slightly crunchy outside, creamy inside. The chorizo adds beautiful color, heat, and the necessary garlic kick. The breadcrumbs are… well, sublime.

I warned you.

Photo by Stephanie Meyer

Fried Chickpeas with Chorizo & Spinach

Mark Bittman for The New York Times
Serves 4

Note: If you can’t find stick chorizo, you can substitute spicy, garlicky, ground sausage (don’t tell Mark). In that case, brown the sausage first (without oil), breaking into small pieces, then add the beans and brown as in Step three below. Smoked paprika, added with the beans, adds a lovely flavor and red color.

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed and as dry as possible (dry on paper towels or in a salad spinner)
Salt and black pepper
4 ounces chorizo, diced
1/2 pound spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sherry
1 to 2 cups bread crumbs

1. Heat the broiler.

2. Put three tablespoons of the oil in a skillet large enough to hold chickpeas in one layer over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add chickpeas and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until chickpeas begin to brown (about 10 minutes), then add chorizo. Continue cooking for another 5 to 8 minutes or until chickpeas are crisp; use a slotted spoon to remove chickpeas and chorizo from pan and set aside.

4. Add the remainder of the 1/4 cup of oil to the pan; when it’s hot, add spinach and sherry, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook spinach over medium-low heat until very soft and the liquid has evaporated. Add chickpeas and chorizo back to the pan and toss quickly to combine; top with bread crumbs, drizzle with a bit more oil, and run pan under the broiler to lightly brown the top. Serve hot or at room temperature.