Friday, September 11, 2009

Panelle - Chickpea Crisps

This is a recipe that is most frequently found in Sicily. Traditional panelle contain more oil and are deep fried until crispy on the exterior but are still somewhat soft on the inside. Needless to say that wasn’t going to happen in our house. However, you can bake them at a high temperature with a little oil and get a similar result with much less fat.

If someone in your family has gluten intolerance this makes a great cracker or crostini substitute and is very easy to pull together. You can buy chickpea flour if you don’t have a Vitamix. I find it easier to make my own so I don’t have to keep another type of flour on hand.

Panelle - Chickpea Crisps
Serves 4


¼ pound of dried chickpeas or chickpea flour
2 cups of water
½ teaspoon of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil for baking


Place the chickpeas in your Vitamix and process until you have flour. This will happen in about 30 seconds.

Combine the chickpea flour, water, kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and whisk to thoroughly combine. Turn the heat to medium and whisk until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until it is thick and holds it shape when whisked. This will happen in about 15 minutes. Continue to whisk or stir periodically while cooking to keep the bottom and sides from scorching.

Pour the cooked mixture into an 8 by 8 pan and smooth the top so that it is roughly even. This is easier to do with a wet spatula. Cool until the mixture is completely firm, about an hour at room temperature. You can make this a day ahead a time and refrigerate until needed.

When the mixture is completely set unmold and cut it into the size you like and place it on a sheet pan lined with silpat or parchment. Brush half of the teaspoon of olive oil evenly on the top of the panelle, or spray the topside of the panelle with oil. Bake at 400 degrees until it is golden and a little crispy. How long this will take in a function of the size of the pieces you cut. I would begin checking to see if they are getting brown at 20 minutes. If it is beginning to brown flip it over and coat that side with the remaining oil and bake for another 20 minutes.

When the panelle are evenly browned and firm on both sides remove them from the oven and cool so they can be eaten without burning your mouth. They can also be served at room temperature. Top with anything you choose, or put on a sandwich like the Italians do.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 73.52
Calories From Fat (58%) - 42.49

Total Fat - 4.82g
Saturated Fat - 0.65g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 323.41mg
Potassium - 49.99mg
Total Carbohydrates - 6.41g
Fiber - 1.25g
Sugar - 0g
Protein - 1.4g


These are served on rolls as the body of sandwiches in Sicily. They make great replacements for crostini or crackers. Olive oil in the mixture gives these panelle the traditional richness of the original. By coating the panelle with a little oil before you bake them you are creating the traditional crunch.

While this recipe is much higher in fat than most of my recipes it is much lower in fat than the original version. Sometimes you need to live a little and enjoy something with a bit more fat than usual.

Tonight we are having these as part of an appetizer plate topped with the tomato and raisin confit.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds similar to farinata, which is apparently the Italian word for what I know--faina. Argentines eat it on top of pizza. It seems odd to me, although I think it's typically eaten on top of their fugazzeta pizza, which traditionally has no cheese, just onions. (I hope my memory is doing me justice tying all this info together).

    It just always seemed so great on its own, and so...unimpressive on pizza.


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