Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sicilian-style falafel, a.k.a. panelle

Here's a little experiment I tried today.  If I do say so myself, it turned out awesome awesome awesome.  (!!1!)

I took some garbanzo bean flour (also called besan, gram or chickpea flour) and made a sort of polenta with it.  I soaked it briefly in water and some olive oil.  I added a whole bunch of spices, figuring it would be really bland without them, and I was right.

I whisked it constantly on the stove until it thickened, then cooled and sliced it--just like polenta.  With me so far?

Then I fried it in a frying pan with maybe half an inch of oil.  "Mmmm" does not adequately describe this dish.  It's SO tasty.  It has the perfect texture we all aspire to in fried foods--creamy inside and crunchy outside.

I found I didn't need any extra salt after frying, and the cucumber basil sauce I made as an accompaniment took away from the fritters' sublime goodness.

Here they are.  I've read Sicilians eat them on a sandwich bun.  Unfortunately, when I was in Sicily recently, no one I talked to had ever heard of them.  I suppose I was either talking to the wrong people, or it was just one of those American myths of what Italy is really like.

Either way, these are REALLY good.


  1. I've never thought of doing something like that. They look delicious and I like the fact that you can add whatever flavour you want, spicy one day, full of herbs the next....I will be trying these soon!
    Thanks for the recipe!