In Palermo, one of the undisputed specialties is panella, made of chickpea flour and cooked like polenta, chilled, and then cut into thick slices that are fried in olive oil. Fried panelle are eaten as is, or multiple slices are piled in a sesame bun and enjoyed as a big sandwich. My version is sauteed not fried, healthier but still delicious.♥
I substituted the typical parsley with rosemary in the batter, and I slightly sauteed the panelle instead of frying them. As an alternative you could also bake them.
TRIVIA: in Tuscany, they use the same flour to make Cecina, which is the cousin of the Socca in the south of France, more like an oven baked crepe, it is cut and served with freshly ground pepper.
A healthier version of the sicilian Panelle made with chickpea flour and rosemary. The panelle are sauteed or baked instead of fried but still delicious (gluten-free and vegan)
- 2 cups (250g) chickpea flour - Bob's Red Mill garbanzo flour
- 3 cups (750ml) water -
- 3 Tbs XV Olive Oil -
- 1 rounded teaspoon salt -
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary -
- olive oil for frying -
- lemon juice and freshly-ground black pepper, for serving -
In a large bowl or in a medium heavy saucepan, whisk together the chickpea flour, water, salt, and rosemary until completely smooth.
Oil one or two baking pans or sheets and set them aside. Note: if you like your panelle thinner use a large sheet.
Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of polenta and starts to separate from the inside of the pan, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk vigorously to get rid of any lumps,
then quickly pour the mixture onto the baking sheets into an even layer.Let it cool, and cover loosely with parchment or plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Sauteeing: Add XV olive oil to a large skillet enough to cover its bottom and set on over medium heat. Cut the chickpea mixture into squares,triangles, any shape you like; sautee' the panelle until they’re golden, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and immediately sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
Serve warm or room temperature, and sprinkle with lemon juice if you like. Delicious cut in cubes and added to a green salad.