The pandemic made me a believer in cocktail hour. From its earliest formless days, I found myself grasping for whatever structure I could impose — early morning walks, Monday night movies, and sometime around the hour that applause would spill from the windows of New York City, a beverage to signal the end of one time of day and the start of another.
It didn't have to be alcoholic — just something ceremoniously poured into a nice glass, something civilized for the end of the world. Two and a half years later, I still find myself grateful for that gentle time of the day, signaled with a glass of wine or a seltzer with a sprig of mint. But what's a happy hour without a nibble to go with it?
From the moment I first cracked open Andy Baraghani's "The Cook You Want to Be: Everyday Recipes to Impress," I've been obsessed with his caramelized lemon cacio e pepe, the brightest, boldest, most deeply comforting dish I've made all year. But because I apparently can't make it every single night without my family mutinying, I decided to take its elements and put them into a bite I can have every night.
Citrusy, crunchy, garlicky and salty, these chickpeas make an exquisite side dish or light supper. But frankly, I'd rather watch you enjoy them while you're sitting outside right before sunset, a cooling breeze coming in and a negroni or another Italian cocktail nearby.
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I can attest that they're enthusiastically welcomed by guests, but also that they're far too good to save for only when guests are around. So, go ahead and make them — even if just for yourself — and toast the achievement of getting though another long day.
Inspired by Andy Baraghani's "The Cook You Want to Be: Everyday Recipes to Impress" and Appetizer Addiction
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small lemon, washed and thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large pan or skillet, heat the oil to shimmering.
- Drain the chickpeas and rub them gently with a paper towel to dry. (You don't have to go overboard.)
- Heat the chickpeas in the oil until they're browned to your liking, about 10 minutes. (I like to keep them going until they start to pop.)
- Add the garlic and lemon slices and stir. Cook about 1 minute more.
- Remove from the heat and top with salt and pepper.
- Eat them while they're hot and crispy.
You can add any spices you like to change up the flavor here. Za'atar is always delicious.
about our favorite light bites
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