the appetizer:

Italian Cooking at Home by the Culinary Institute of America includes recipes like Chickpea Fritters (Panissa fritta o panelle); Black Risotto (Risotto al nero di seppia); Broth (Brodo); and Stuffed Grilled Swordfish (Involtini di pesce spada).

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Chickpea Fritters
(Panissa fritta o panelle)

Chickpea Fritters

Serves 4 (makes 12 pieces)


This is a chickpea "polenta" cooked slowly and then left to cool. Once it cools, it's firm enough to cut into pieces to fry or grill.


1. Put the flour in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the salt. Stir the batter as you pour in the water, mixing well to prevent any lumps from forming. Let the batter rest at least 30 minutes before making the fritters. Leave the batter at room temperature if you plan to continue within 1 hour; refrigerate the batter if you want to continue later than that or even the next day.

2. Heat the remaining olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the green onions and cook, stirring frequently, until limp and tender, about 3 minutes. Add the parsley, sage, and rosemary; remove the pan from the heat, season with a little salt and pepper, and reserve.

3. Skim away any foam on the surface of the batter and pour the batter into a heavy bottomed pan. Put the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly as though you were making polenta. Cook until the mixture gets quite stiff, about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, oil a baking sheet. Add the scallion-and-herb mixture and stir until blended. Pour the batter out onto the baking sheet. Press it into an even layer about 1/4 inch thick, and let it cool completely (you can keep it in the refrigerator for a couple of days).

4. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or a deep pot to 375 degrees F.

5. Cut the chickpea mixture into 2- or 3-inch squares. Cut the squares in half diagonally to make triangle-shaped fritters. Lower the fritters in batches into the hot oil with a slotted spoon or frying basket. Fry until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Lift the fritters from the oil, drain on paper towels, season with salt, and serve at once.


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This page created April 2011