Panella is an Italian favorite. It is used as a snack and even used to fill slices of bread as a tasty sandwich. However you use it, it is good and just a bit different. Panella is gluten-free and high in protein because it is made with chickpea flour. Now if you are one of ‘those’ people who think they don’t like chickpea anything, give this a chance. Serve it with a dip, slices of smoked ham, or cheese and you may be surprised at how good this is. Even better, fill a bun with panella, lettuce, fresh tomatoes, cheese, and whatever else you like and this new sandwich may become a favorite. Chickpea flour is easy to find in the health section of your market, or like me, you can order it online. Panella is a simple food. Give it a try. Eat to live, and live to eat!
1-tablespoon olive oil
2-tablespoons dried herbs of your choice
In a saucepan bring 2 cups of water to a hard boil. Place the chickpea flour in a large bowl. Slowly whisk the boiling water into the flour, about ¼-cup at a time to avoid lumps. Once all the water is blended smoothly into the flour, return the flour mixture back to the pan you heated the water in. Turn the heat to medium. Stirring constantly to avoid scorching, add the olive oil, salt and pepper and herbs. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly until the batter is stiff and thick. Remove the pan from the heat. Use additional olive oil to coat a baking sheet. Spread the dough into a rectangle about ¼-inch thick. Dip your fingers in olive oil to make shaping the dough easier. Once shaped, loosely cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerator 1 – 24 hours. Once chilled use a knife to cut slices of panella dough into strips, about 1 x 3 inches. If the dough is sticky, dip your knife in additional chickpea flour. Place the grape seed or vegetable oil in a large pan so it is about 1/2-inch deep. Once the oil is hot, place panella strips in the pan so they are not crowded and cook until they are a deep, golden brown. Turn and cook until color is even. Remove to a paper towel. Do not salt the panella until your are ready to serve it as the salt will draw out moisture. Serve warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese for a garnish. I like to cook half the slices and freeze the rest for another time. Remember to cook cut, sliced, and frozen panella while it is still frozen. This recipe makes about 48 pieces.