If you were to put out a bowl of these crunchy, smoky, spicy little nuggets at a cocktail party, it's likely they'd be gone in under five minutes.
- 2 large cans chickpeas
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 coarse salt to taste
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Drain chickpeas and set on paper towels over a colander to dry throughly. Pat with paper towels to help dry them. If the chickpeas are wet they will steam and get mushy. Drying them thoroughly ensures they will get nice and crispy.
Heat oil in large pan (I like using my cast iron skillet) until the oil begins to shimmer. To make sure it's hot enough, add 1 chickpea and if the oil sizzles and bubbles up around it you are ready to go.
Add about 1/2 the lemon zest, 1/2 of the thyme sprig, and 1/2 the chickpeas, fry about 5 minutes until the chickpeas turn a golden brown. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Continue frying with the remaining lemon zest, thyme and chickpeas. Add the garlic for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Remove the chickpeas and set them on a 2nd plate lined with paper towels.
Add all the chickpeas to a bowl, toss with smoked paprika, and extra sprinkle of salt. Serve while still warm.