Words Vicki Ravlich-Horan, Images Ashlee Decaires

I recently returned from our Taste of Sicily tour (2023) where we enjoyed such amazing food.  Many of the dishes that stood out were ridiculously simple, and panelle was a great example of this. We enjoyed it freshly fried standing in the bustling market of Palermo as well as while sipping expensive cocktails admiring the view in a swanky hotel in Taormina.

Similar to the French socca, this chickpea fritter is moreishly addictive!

This recipe is based on the one from Sicilia: The Cooking of Casa Planeta.

2½ cups chickpea flour (available from Vetro, Bare Refillery, and The Herbal Dispensary)
3 cups water
salt and pepper

neutral oil for frying

In a medium sized pot place the chickpea flour and whisk in the water, trying to avoid getting lumps.  Season with the salt and pepper then heat, bringing the water to a simmer. Stir continuously with a combination of the whisk (to remove lumps) and a spatula (to stop the mixture catching and burning).

When the mixture has thickened and is pulling away from the sides, take off the heat.
Spread onto a lined baking tray. Ideally you want it to be around ½cm thick. Allow to cool and set in the fridge.

Once set, cut the mixture into the desired shape and, in batches, deep fry at around 180°C until golden. Drain on paper towels, season with flaky sea salt, and serve while still warm with a glass of Sicilian Chardonnay, dry sparkling wine, or an ice cold lager.


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