So here at Making it with Meleyna, we eat a lot of beans. Beans are cheap, (canned) beans are quick, and most importantly, beans are tasty. The magical fruit, if you will. And so, MWM’s first of what I’m sure will prove to be many, legume based meals.
This particular gem of a recipe was inspired by a night that began at a charming little tapas bar, and ended up well, the strip club. (I know, I’m a classy broad.) So this being my one friend that actually eats like I do, we ordered a lot of food. (Actually, it was more like he was paying so I told him I’d eat whatever he ordered.) Shrimp, pork, beef, tortilla, and a little dish of golden garbanzos flecked with spinach. Between the two of us, each plate was cleared at an alarming rate. (Though not quite as quickly as those two pitchers of sangria…) Well, except that little bowl of chickpeas. Yet as we chit chatted (and drank), I inevitably ended up spearing each and every tender little morsel and popping it into my mouth one by one. (Funny how that always happens.)
Though my first impression of the dish wasn’t stellar, it certainly wasn’t repulsive, and one Tuesday evening when I seriously had no fresh ingredients around, my version was born. I personally prefer to do my best to make this dish on the lighter side. Rather than drowning everything in olive oil from the get-go, I start the dish in the pan with olive oil Pam and finish it with about a 1/2 tablespoon of the raw, glass-green, extra virgin stuff. This way I get the full flavor, and not just the fat. I also sometimes top mine with a fried egg, depending on how indulgent I’m being. This is completely optional, but that golden, runny yolk is never a bad thing in my book.
I’m fairly certain if I went back to Lola, my version would taste nothing like its inspiration, but none the less, I love this dish.
Chickpeas with Spinach, Garlic, and Lemon
inspired by Lola Tapas & Coffee Bar
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 oz. frozen spinach, thawed, drained and chopped*
1 clove garlic, peeled and cracked
1/4 teaspoon red chili flake
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
juice of half a lemon
extra virgin olive oil
1-2 eggs (optional)
*I’ve used both fresh and frozen spinach in this, and I prefer both the mouthfeel and the way the chopped frozen stuff clings to each little bean. Plus I always have frozen spinach on hand. But both are tasty, so I leave it up to you.
Preheat a medium sized pan over medium heat. Add whatever sort of fat you choose. Add the cracked clove of garlic, the chili flake, and cumin, and toast over medium-low for a couple of minutes, being sure neither the garlic or spices blacken. Add the chickpeas and turn the heat up, adding salt and pepper to taste, moving things around so things don’t stick too much. Once the peas have heated through, add the spinach and combine everything together. Off the heat, add a glug of good olive oil, and the lemon juice. I squeeze the lemon gently, taste, and add more if needed. (I also keep it close by while eating, as it seems I always need more.) Divide onto two plates, or if you’re me, into a bowl for yourself.
Return the pan to the heat, add a bit more oil, and fry your eggs to your liking. (Over easy, please.) Don’t forget to salt and pepper before you flip. Top your beans with your egg, perhaps a bit of parsley, and enjoy.
If you’re splitting this between two of you, you’ll probably need some good bread, and perhaps some sliced tomato on the side. And just as a disclaimer, I’m not making any promises that this meal will get you an invite to the strip club from your dining partner. If you want one of those, all you have to do is hang out with me!
I blame the Sangria.