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Appetizers, Breads

Panisses

Panisses
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

As life gets ever more hectic, I rely more and more on the civilized custom of a before-dinner aperitif. Sometimes it's all I can do to make it to that magical hour when I'm handed a Campari and soda or ... Read more

Total time: 35 minutes, plus chilling or cooling time | Serves 4 to 6
  • 2 cups (9.2 ounces) chickpea flour
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Frying oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Step 1Sift the chickpea flour and combine in a large saucepan with 1 quart hot -- but not boiling -- water and the olive oil. Heat over moderately high heat, mixing continuously with a whisk, until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes. Exchange the whisk for a wooden spoon and cook, stirring continuously, for 10 minutes more. The mixture should be thick and heavy.

Step 2Spread out a clean dish towel on a work surface. Place the panisse mixture along the bottom of the dish towel. Wrap the towel over the mixture and roll it into a log 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Refrigerate for 2 hours. As an alternative to this towel method, which can be tricky, spread out the mixture onto an oiled baking sheet to a depth of one-third inch, cover with a dish towel and refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut out the panisse rounds using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or small jar.

Step 3Heat some frying oil in a skillet (the oil should be about one-fourth inch deep) over moderately high heat. Cut the panisse log into slices roughly one-third inch thick and fry in small batches until golden, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and serve immediately on a dish, or, better yet, in a paper cone.

Note: Adapted from Daniel Young's "Made in Marseille." Chickpea (or garbanzo) flour is available at well-stocked markets as well as gourmet and cooking stores.

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