This recipe is part of Crispianity: a column devoted to all foods crispy and crunchy, two of the most underappreciated attributes of a great dish. Author Adeena Sussman is a food writer and recipe developer, pairing here with a friend, photographer Evan Sung. Sussman’s most recent cookbook, coauthored with Lee Brian Schrager, is Fried and True: More Than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides.

Making falafel from scratch isn’t complicated; it just requires some planning: Soak the chickpeas in advance, pulse with seasonings and a few binders, shape and fry. To my mind, few freshly fried crispy things are as delicious. You can even make the batter a day before you fry it; I tried it and was surprised at how well it held up in the fridge.

Sometimes I’m in the mood for the falafel itself but not the pita pocket that houses it. The bread can fill you up, limiting enjoyment of the crispy goodness within. This salad eliminates the pita and turns the falafel into crunchy “croutons” topped with a dressing made rich with tahini and tangy with bits of preserved lemon. Think of it as falafel without the baggage, the moral of the story being: Don’t knock it until you fry it.