Chickpea Fritters or Panelle are a fantastic hot appetizer and favorite street food in Palermo. I like to serve them with Caponata, a spicy, sweet and sour eggplant relish. Panelle are made from chickpea flour. The recipe is similar to making fried polenta. I think the flavor and health benefits from chickpeas are much better than polenta. Luckily, my local grocery carries chickpea flour. This recipe is based on the one in Mary Ann Esposito’s cookbook, Ciao Italia; Bringing Italy Home.
Panelle (Chickpea Fritters)
- 2 1/2 cups 8 ounces chickpea flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 3 cups water
- 3 tablespoons finely fresh parsley or oregano optional
- 4 to 6 cups vegetable oil
- In a heavy-duty saucepan or copper pot, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper together off the heat. Slowly stir in the water and blend in with a heavy-duty whisk, being careful to avoid lumps from forming. Stir in the parsley or oregano, if using.
- Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until it thickens and begins to move away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Using a rubber spatula, spread the cooked mixture out onto an oiled cookie sheet. Let the mixture cool and then cut into rectangles Carefully pull the panelle away from the pan. and stack on a piece of parchment paper while you get ready to fry. There should be 32 panelle.
- In a deep fryer heat the vegetable oil to 375F. Fry the panelle until they are nicely browned. Drain them on brown paper and serve immediately. These are best eaten hot.
- Note: To make ahead, form and cut the panelle and freeze them, uncooked, in single layers on a cookie sheet. When they are frozen, remove the panelle to plastic bags and seal well. Defrost as needed and fry.