Crumbed prawns (or salmon) with garlic chickpea salad

Frank Camorra
Crumbed prawns (or salmon) on a base of garlic chickpea salad.
Crumbed prawns (or salmon) on a base of garlic chickpea salad. Photo: Marcel Aucar

The prawns in this dish can be replaced with salmon if you prefer. When properly cooked, chickpeas are tender but never mushy, with a delicious, nutty flavour no other dried legume has. Note: It is best to soak chickpeas overnight before cooking.


300g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water

2 garlic heads

12 large green prawns, peeled and deveined

50g plain flour

2 eggs, beaten 

150g Japanese (panko) breadcrumbs

Extra virgin olive oil

2 anchovies

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

1 leek, finely chopped

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped 

1 celery stick, peeled and chopped

1 litre vegetable stock

1 tbsp sherry vinegar

1 tbsp mint leaves

Salt and black pepper


Preheat oven to 170C. Drain chickpeas, put them in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer, then cook for about 2 hours or until chickpeas are soft. Set aside to cool in their water.

Slice the top off the garlic bulbs then drizzle a little oil on top, wrap the garlic in foil and bake for 1 hour. Set aside cooked garlic to cool.

Meanwhile, dip the prawns first in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Set aside on a tray in the fridge. 

In a fresh saucepan over a high heat, add a little olive oil and cook the anchovies, breaking them up. Then stir in the vegetables and add more oil. Cook the vegetables for 10 minutes without browning before adding 3/4 of the cooked chickpeas, reserving the chickpea cooking water.

Cover the vegetables with stock and squeeze the roasted garlic from the bulbs into the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add vinegar and blend until smooth, only adding enough cooking water to make a smooth puree. Check the seasoning.

To serve, reheat the puree and reheat remaining chickpeas in their cooking water. Bring a heavy-based frying pan up to a high heat and fry the prawns in plenty of vegetable oil, turning once.

Drain the cooked prawns on kitchen paper, then divide the puree between four plates, top with remaining chickpeas, place prawns on top and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and torn mint leaves.

Tip: When cooking chickpeas after soaking overnight, cover them in warm water and cook with no salt as this hardens the surface of the chickpea. Once done, leave them to cool in the cooking liquid.