November 20, 2010

Sicilian Street Food Snack- Panelle

This trip I didn't get to spend any time in Palermo, where I love to enjoy the street food stands. At The Foresteria Planeta, where we did our classes, Chef Angelo Pomelia made us his version of panelle as an appetizer the first night with our aperitivo.

Panelle are made from chickpea flour ( garbanzo bean) made into a sort of polenta, chilled and then cut into small pieces and fried! Angelo substituted the typical parsely with rosemary in the batter and it was a winning combination.

Here in Tuscany, we use the same flour to make Cecina, which is the same as the Socca in the south of France.  More like an oven baked crepe, it is cut and served with freshly ground pepper.


1 cup chickpea flour
3 cups water
1 tbs chopped parsely, rosemary or sage
1/2 tsp salt

Place flour in saucepan. Whisk the water in slowly to avoid lumps.
Add salt and herbs.

Cook over heat until it becomes thick and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Italians cook it for about 30 minutes. 

Place the chickpea mixture in a rectangular pan, greased, and let cool.
Flatten with a wet spatula.

When cool, cut into small rectangles and fry.
I use a saucepan with about 1 inch of extra virgin olive oil, but in USA would use Canola oil as not sure about the quality of the EVO for frying.

After the panelle are golden, let drain on papertowel, salt and serve.

In Palermo several panelle are served in bread as a sandwich.

It does have a nice eggy sort of flavor and is gluten-free!


  1. I love the simplicity and I've made socca, etc. but I always spread it out thin and cooked it like a flat bread. I will be trying this tomorrow and you really have me missing Italy. :D

  2. Cathy- in florence the "cecina' is a really liquid batter, which socca should be too- and poured into a copper pan and cooked in a pizza oven.
    What is your recipe that you can cook like bread?

  3. Oh I love these! It was the first Sicilian food I had in Sicily - My cousin made them for us the first time I visited Palermo. And, in true Italian form, as soon as we arrived, we ate before doing anything else.

  4. HOW one earth did I miss these when I was in Sicily!? This looks deliciousssss!!!

  5. And in Liguria, specially in Savona we have the same thing called "pane e panizza"!

  6. This sounds easy and delicious!

  7. Jon ( Serial Griller)11:44 PM

    I didn't have chickpea flour so I took some split mung beans from a Vietnamese grocer, made mung flour with my Vitamix and continued with the recipe.They still were very tasty!I love how they are crispy on the outside and so chewy on the inside.I sprinkled with salt and parmasan.Incredible.I can imagine dipping these in a maranara sauce.Looking forward to trying it with chickpea flour.Can they be baked???
    This is a keeper.Thanks!

  8. am sure they can be baked.. drizzled with some oil and at a high heat is like frying!

  9. Serial Griller3:14 PM

    Thanks Judy!I'll give it a try.My wife and I are still talking about your panelle this morning!

  10. Great post! The first time I had panelle was at Tasca D'Almerita. The pairing with their Almerita brut was perfect!

  11. @elizabeth- seems to me that most "poor food" is fab with prosecco- panelle and mortadella!
    who needs caviar?