Friday, April 9, 2010

Pan e Panelle - Sicilian Chickpea Fritter Sandwiches

I first encountered this recipe on the great, kitschy PBS cooking show, Lydia's Italy. The target demographic is retired old ladies, but Lydia really knows her stuff and she shares the serious technique that Giada sometimes skips over... Pan e Panelle was on Lydia's Sicily show, and that episode ignited my interest in the humble, delicious, ancient fusion food of Sicily.

What's Guerrilla: Chickpea flour is cheap, nutritious, and very easy to prepare.
What's Gourmet: Panelle is a classic street food that illustrates the foreign influences (Arab, Greek, and even French) underpinning Sicilian cuisine.

Recipe details follow after the jump!

One cup chickpea flour. (Old-school Italian delis sell it as ceci flour.)
Two cups water.
Some olive oil.
A handful of fresh herbs.
Toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling.
Plenty of oil for frying.

Put the water into a pot, whisk the ceci flour into it while it's
still cold, then turn up the heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and
stir it frequently to keep things from scorching on the bottom. Cook
until the polenta turns quite thick and loses some of it's bitter
taste (about 20 minutes.)

While the delicious goo is still good and hot pour it out to cool
overnight. You can pour it into a bread loaf tin to cool, then cut it
into thin slices as i did for this affair. You can also pour it in
thin layers on one or more large cookie sheets, and then cut it into

When the time comes, get your oil good and hot. Usually I get out the
thermometer and bring the oil to about 350 degrees. Three or four
minutes is enough to get the fritters crisp, hot and delicious. The
oil at the party was medieval hot - the fritters cooked crisp in about
30 seconds - and it was great fun to man the fry station.


Tore said...

1 cup of sifted chickpea flour = 3 ounces dry weight. Useful conversion for scale fetishists.