Chickpea and Escarole Soup With Crispy Bread Crumbs

Time50 minutes
YieldsServes 4
Homemade bread crumbs are in a small glass bowl beside a pot of tomato-based soup with potatoes, chickpeas and escarole.
(Jennifer Chong / For The Times; Prop Styling by Kate Parisian.)

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the chile flakes and garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the tomatoes and their juice and another large pinch of salt and cook, uncovered and lightly mashing the tomatoes as they cook, until they break down and get thick, about 5 minutes.


Rinse out the tomato can with about ¼ cup of water and add to the pot along with the chicken broth, chickpeas, potatoes and the rind from the wedge of Parmesan. Season with another generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the escarole, season with salt and simmer for another 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until golden but not burned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.


To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with bread crumbs, lots of grated Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and some parsley, if using.

Making Breadcrumbs
To make fresh bread crumbs, tear two large slices (about 6 ounces) bread into bite-size pieces and spread out on a baking sheet to go stale for at least 1 day, preferably 2. Once stale, blitz the bread in a food processor until it forms rough-textured crumbs (do not process them to a fine powder). Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.