Friday Night Fry-athon
We made our usual panelle, for which I will finally provide a recipe, and we also made Ivonne's stuffed eggplant, which were amazing! The detailed recipe with photo's can be found here. Thanks Ivonne, for sharing treasured family recipes with your devoted readers!
Panelle, for those of whom have not yet heard me ranting and raving about them, are fritters made from chickpea flour typically eaten in Palermo and its surrounds, which are served either plain with salt, or are the star of a sandwich over which lemon is squeezed. I have come to associate them with the beach, since we have eaten them there a few times, but I also ate my first panino con le panelle in Mondello, a beach side resort area in Palermo. They are quite easy and satisfying to replicate at home, and if you have your deep fryer (or pot with hot oil) already at hand, why not give them a try? Start your own Friday night tradition!
-500 grams chickpea flour (found at health food stores or Italian food shops)
-1.5 L filtered or spring water
-1-3 tbsp anise seeds (optional)
-1/2 cup finely chopped Italian parsley (not the curly leafed one)
-vegetable oil for frying
~Set a medium size saucepan on rubber pot holder or tea towel for support. Place the chickpea flour in the pot and slowly add the water, whisking vigorously to prevent lumps from forming.
~Once the mixture is uniform, place the pot over medium heat and whisk continuously until it starts to bubble. Add a pinch or two of salt, a few grindings of pepper, the parsley and the optional anise seeds and continue whisking until very thick, the whole process should take about 5 minutes.
~Rinse out a large 8 x 12" (or similar) cookie sheet or low sided pan with cold water and dump it out. With a spatula (or an offset spatula if you happen to have one), quickly smooth the thick batter into a thin sheet about 1/2 " high, until it is relatively even throughout the pan. Let cool for about 40 minutes. At this point the mixture can be covered with plastic and refrigerated up to 2 days.
~When the mixture is firm (we often rush and wait only 20 minutes), cut into small square or rectangular pieces, and fry in oil at about 350 degrees until golden brown. This can be done in a shallow skillet as well as a deep fryer.
~Place the fried panelle on paper towels to drain, sprinkle some salt over them and serve them very hot with some lemon wedges and some cold beer.
~This recipe makes enough for 4 as a snack or appetizer, or as one part of a deep fried meal.
~Enjoy! Eat plenty of salad and brown rice the day after, to offset any artery clogging guilt!