One of my favorite food columns to read online is the one Mark Bittman writes for the New York Times called "The Minimalist". I used to read this before I had any of his cookbooks; I love his method for using quality basic ingredients and turning them into something really special without a lot of work.
This recipe uses chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), Spanish Chorizo (the hard smoked kind, not the softer mexican variety), and spinach. This meal is a winner! I munched on the chickpeas throughout the entire cooking process and I forgot how tasty they are! They start out being soft and mealy, but toward the end the exterior becomes crunchy, yet they are still soft on the inside. We bought dried chickpeas and started them soaking this morning, then simmered them for a bit when we got home from work until they were tender. You can use either canned or dried for this recipe though.
I was just reading today about how a lot of the nutrients in spinach (like Vitamins A, K, and E, some carotenoids, etc.) are fat soluble, so you need to make sure there is fat somewhere in your meal to go with the spinach so your body can absorb all those great nutrients. This fact makes me feel a lot better about basically frying the chickpeas in oil and Chorizo fat and drizzling the whole dish with olive oil. Even though I was just a teenager during the "Low Fat Craze" in the 90's (remember Snackwell's?), it still somehow managed to leave an impression on me, because to this day I feel a twinge of guilt when it comes to cooking with fat. I have to remind myself that trying to cut too much fat out of your diet might actually be robbing your body of vital nutrients.
Fried Chickpeas with Chorizo and Spinach
adapted from "The Minimalist" by Mark Bittman
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, as dry as possible (rinse them first if using canned, then gently blot dry with paper towels or use a salad spinner. If they are wet when you put them in to the oil they will spatter)
Salt and black pepper
4 ounces chorizo, diced
1/2 pound spinach (more or less is fine), roughly chopped
1/4 cup sherry
1 to 2 cups bread crumbs
Preheat the broiler.
Put three tablespoons of the oil into a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chickpeas and spread them out into a single layer (they won't brown well if the pan is too crowded). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Reduce the heat a bit and cook, shaking the pan occasionally (you mostly just want to let them sit there and fry in the oil), until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes or so. Add the chorizo, and cook for another 5-8 minutes, or until the chickpeas are crisp (taste a couple to make sure). Use a slotted spoon to remove chickpeas and chorizo from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
Add the last tablespoon of oil to the pan. When hot, add the spinach, then pour the sherry over it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat until the spinach is wilted and soft and the liquid has pretty much evaporated. Add back the chickpeas and chorizo and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top and drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Put the whole pan under the broiler to lightly brown the top.
Serve hot or at room temperature.