Lidia Bastianich demonstrates fascinating recipes on Lidia’s Italy, her public access show.  On a recent episode, 211, she featured a specialty of Palermo, a city in Sicily, Italy: the Panelle Sandwich.  Jessica and I watched and drooled as Lidia and her nephew went around eating this rustic street food at different stands, wishing we were in Italy.

Panelle Sandwich 2

When Jessica made some hamburger buns, it jogged my taste memory. They looked perfect for the panelle sandwich because Lidia mentions that they are always served on sesame seeded buns.  I found Lidia’s recipe for Fried Chickpea Polenta (Panelle), but it was a bit large, and I recalled hers came out too thick, so I reduced it for my purposes.

This recipe is pretty easy, I found it convenient to prepare while I ate breakfast; then finish cooking it for lunch. Since it’s served on soft buns, like hamburger buns, it’s a perfect vegetarian alternative for guests at a barbecue. (I like veggie burgers, but Jessica finds them pretty vile.)

Pane e Panelle (Panelle Sandwich)
~makes 3 sandwiches

Instructions -

1. Oil or spray a 9″ x 13″ baking sheet, set aside.

2. Begin heating water, oil, and salt in a heavy 1 quart sauce pan over medium heat.  Slowly whisk in chickpea flour as combination heats, breaking up lumps.  Stir continuously for 7-10 minutes, while a pudding-like consistency is achieved (do not let it boil).  Actually, it if you’re into baking, this should closely resemble heating pâte à choux batter.

3. Remove immediately to the baking sheet and spread smooth.  Work quickly as the batter will set rapidly.  Let air cool for 2 hours.  Refrigerate up to overnight.

making panelle

4. Later, cut the cooled panelle sheet into strips, about 1″ wide by 2.5″ long, a bit smaller than a business card.  Heat extra virgin olive oil in a heavy bottom pan, but don’t let it smoke.  Fry the panelle strips until golden, season with salt and pepper, and eat hot or room temperature on a soft bun.

frying panelle

Next time I might consider adding herbs (oregano or parsley perhaps, like this person) to the panelle batter.  Consider adding black pepper, mayonnaise, or hot sauce to the sandwich; or just a squeeze of lemon.

squeeze lemon on Panelle Sandwich

Carb on Carb action…MMMM

Panelle Sandwich 3

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