One of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco is One Market. All of their food is good, but it's one menu item that I keep coming back for: chickpea fries. I just love them, what can I say?
We had lunch at Ubuntu in Napa last month, and guess what was on the menu? Of course I had order them, and it was about that time when I remembered I had a recipe for chickpea fries in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian book. So I set off to find some chickpea flour to recreate one of my favorite restaurant dishes at home.
I had a hard time finding chickpea flour - I tried a couple of stores, and ended up finding it in the bulk bins at Whole Foods. This recipe is actually quite simple, I can't believe I didn't try it sooner. I adapted the recipe by adding smoked paprika and a pinch of cayenne.
The verdict: these chickpea fries are at least as good as what I order in restaurants. My husband thinks they're better. At One Market, they serve their chickpea fries with harissa aioli; at Ubuntu it's romesco sauce. I had some romesco sauce in the freezer already, so I went with that.
Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
Neutral oil for pan frying (I used canola)
1 cup chickpea flour, sifted
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for finishing
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
a pinch of cayenne pepper
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Line an 8x8 square pan with parchment or plastic wrap, set aside. Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a medium sized pot. Gradually add the chickpea flour, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in a teaspoon of kosher salt along with the pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne and olive oil. Cook for one more minute, stirring constantly.
Spread the chickpea mixture into an even layer in the pan. Let cool for about 15 minutes, then cover loosely. Refrigerate for at least one hour, and up to a day.
Heat about 1/8 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. In the meantime, lift the chickpea mixture out of the pan by the edges of the parchment. Cut the chickpea mixture into fries that are about 4 inches long by 1/2 inch wide. Place batches of the fries into the hot oil, turning when browned. After all sides have browned, remove from the oil and drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining chickpea fries.
Serve with romesco sauce, tomato sauce, or aioli.