Brace yourselves, folks. I never thought I would speak these words: The best thing I ate this week came from a can. There. I said it.
Last Sunday, my sister, Kasey, came over for dinner and a movie. In a stunning reversal of my usual modus operandi, I had movies galore selected for possible viewing, but not the slightest idea as to what we might eat. When Kasey arrived, I mumbled something about pasta, or maybe bok choy, and wandered into the kitchen. Then, I spotted it, a can of chickpeas on the top shelf. Before I knew it, the oven was hot, the chickpeas were drained, and the olive oil was flowing. I threw caution to the wind and cumin into the mixing bowl. One baking pan, a few grinds of salt, and forty-five minutes later, I found myself biting into the most delicious chickpeas I had ever tasted. Ever. And I'm not one to throw around superlatives. Okay, so there was that two-year stint in the fifth and sixth grades, when I took to reading the thesaurus and overstuffing my poetry with cringe-worthy phrases like "interminably vast blue sky" and "most elegant flutter of a new spring leaf." But those days are long gone, I swear.
Now, I know I'm not the first person on the planet to roast chickpeas, just like I'm not the first person ever to fall in love or to see a shooting star. But that doesn't make my own personal first time any less soul-stirring. If you've never roasted a chickpea, open up a can and see for yourselves. Don't let that tin-coated steel fool you. There are chickpeas in there, folks, just waiting to be roasted to crispy-crunchy-on-the-outside, velvety-smooth-on-the-inside perfection. Grab a can opener, a strainer, and get cooking. And make haste, dear ones, lest I send fifth-grade Jess after you with a thesaurus full of superlatives. I would hate to ruin your appetite on chickpea roasting day.
Roasted Chickpeas with Cumin
1 15-oz. can of chickpeas (I prefer to use an organic, no-salt added brand, like Eden.)
2 T. olive oil, divided
1 T. cumin
5-6 generous grinds of sea salt
A few dashes of cayenne pepper, to taste
1 T. of chopped fresh parsley
Half a lemon, or one small lime
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Drain the chickpeas, and toss them with 1 T. olive oil, the cumin, sea salt, and cayenne pepper. Spill out onto a baking sheet and shake into a single layer. Roast for approximately 35-45 minutes, until the outsides of the chickpeas are crunchy and golden. About every 15 minutes, stir the chickpeas around a little.
Remove the baking pan from the oven, and slide the chickpeas into a serving bowl. Add the remaining 1 T. olive oil, juice from half a lemon or one small lime, and taste. Add a bit more salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, and/or citrus if your tongue deems it necessary. Stir in the parsley. Serve immediately. (We ate our roasted chickpeas with wild rice and sauteed Swiss chard. The second time around, I topped them with a dollop of Greek yogurt. I highly recommend it.)