Makes 6 Sandwiches
Panelle are a Sicilian chickpea fritter and are a common street food, especially in Palermo. While they’re delicious as is, they’re also great as a hearty sandwich filling with ricotta and pecorino. For bite-sized appetizers, cut the fritters smaller before frying and use them as a base, then top with cheese, caponata, or seafood.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the pan
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 6 semolina rolls, split
- 1 1/2 cups fresh whole-milk ricotta
- 1/4 cup grated pecorino
- Freshly ground black pepper
Brush a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups water, the olive oil, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Set over low heat and gradually whisk in the chickpea flour until smooth. Bring to a gentle simmer (just a few bubbles to the surface here and there) and cook until the mixture is thick and pulls away from the sides of the pan, similar to polenta, about 10 minutes. Spread into an even layer about 1/2-inch thick in the oiled pan, trying to keep in a rectangle shape. let cool until firm, about 1 hour.
Heat about 1/2 inch vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium and line a baking sheet with paper towels. Preheat the oven to the lowest setting. Unmold the panelle mixture and cut into 2-inch triangles or squares. Dip a corner of one piece in the hot oil. If it sizzles on contact, the oil is ready. Add about half of the panelle and fry, turning once, until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper-towel-lined baking sheet and season with salt. Keep warm in the oven while you fry the second batch.
Divide the hot panelle among the rolls. Top with the ricotta and pecorino and finish with a generous grinding of pepper. Serve immediately.