Garden State's Chickpea Sandwich
A Vegetarian Dish Inspired by the Street Vendors of Italy
Garden State is one of the four finalists in the Best Food Cart Challenge held by "Good Morning America Weekend. "Owner Kevin Sandri serves up a "Sicily-Meets-New Jersey" style cuisine. Offering mix of hand crafted sandwiches – Sandri's signature chickpea sandwich keeps customers lining up. It's a house-made herbed chickpea patty lightly fried, served on a soft ciabatta with lemon aioli and garnished with lettuce and a grated carrot radish slaw.
While his recipes come from his Italian roots, Sandri sources all his food from local farmers.
You will need a deep fryer filled with vegetable oil (I use rice bran oil) and set to 350 degrees. You could also bake or grill the patties as you would polenta.
Make the chickpea patties and aioli ahead of time.
Lightly oil three 1/4 inch size sheet pans and keep in a warm place. In a thick-bottomed pot, mix all the dry ingredients. Gradually add the rest of the water while stirring with a flat-bottomed wooden spatula. You want to avoid lots of lumps of flour, but a few are ok. Start with high heat, and while stirring almost constantly, gradually lower the heat as the mixture thickens. Add the parsley later in the cooking, when most of the water has been absorbed. Once it is thickened and the mixture pulls away from the sides and bottom of the pot when stirred, it is done. It should take about 10-15 minutes. Transfer the patty mixture to the sheet pan and spread it evenly, covering the entire pan. (Optional: also oil the bottom of another pan, and place it on top of the patty mixture. Press firmly to create a smooth, even surface, then remove.) Cool completely.
To roast the squash, cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds, then cut cross-wise into 1/4 inch slices. (When delicata first come into season, the skin can be eaten.) Toss with a little olive oil and a pinch of black pepper. Place on a sheet pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. When easily pierced with a knife, they are done. Keep these warm.
To make the aioli, add all the ingredients for it except the oil to a food processor and puree. With the unit running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until all is used. It should form a thick emulsion like mayonnaise. Cool completely.
To make the slaw, simply mix the ingredients. Grate the carrots in a food processor, and slice the radishes in same using the slicing blade. Use at room temperature.
For the sandwiches, take the sheet pans of chickpea and cut each into 12 pieces. Slice the rolls in half to open them, lightly brush with olive oil and toast them either on a grill or in the broiler of an oven. For each sandwich, drop 2 of the patties into the fryer until they are crispy and begin to brown, about 4 minutes. Spread aioli on each side of the roll, then place salad greens on each side. Cover one side with the carrot-radish slaw, then place 3-4 slices of roasted squash on top. Remove the patties from the fryer, drain on paper towels, and lightly salt them. Place them over the squash and close the sandwich up.