Panella (also spelled panelle and panelli) is a Sicilian savory fritter made with a finely-ground flour from ceci or chickpeas. Sold at street stands and street markets in Palermo, fried panella are eaten as is or multiple slices are piled in a sesame roll and enjoyed as a sandwich. Panella are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Serve panella as a snack or as a side dish similar to polenta crostini. We like dipping them in a little warm tomato sauce. Chickpea flour (also called garbanzo bean flour) can be found at Italian markets and health food stores.
1 cup chickpea flour
2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Olive oil for frying
Coarse salt (optional)
In a bowl combine the flour and water until smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to a boil.
Stir in the salt, pepper, and parsley.
Stir constantly until the mixture thickens, about 4-5 minutes.
Spread it quickly before it cools with a spatula onto a baking sheet.
You want an even layer that is 1/2 inch thick.
Try to spread it into a rectangle or square which will make it easier to cut later.
Dip your spatula into some water and smooth the top of the dough.
Allow to cool completely, about 1 hour.
Cut into 3-inch squares.
Heat about 1/2-inch of olive oil in a large skillet.
Use a spatula to lift the squares off of the baking sheet.
Fry the panella 2 to 3 minutes per side until crisp and golden.
Transfer panella to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
Sprinkle with salt, if desired, and serve.
Chickpea flour is high in protein and is especially good for gluten-free baking.
It can also be used to thicken soups, sauces,and gravies.