If you're eating wheat- or gluten-free, or are looking to add protein and variety to a vegetarian diet, panisse is a lovely dish to try. Made from bean (usually chickpea) flour, panisse is comparable to falafel --- both are fried, made from beans, and have a fluffy yet crispy texture. Unlike falafel, panisse itself is usually not strongly seasoned, so I've paired this version with a quick sauté using several vegetables that are in season in early spring. Panisse pairs well with most vegetables, however, so feel free to substitute other seasonal vegetables as appropriate.
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
- 1 c chickpea flour (see ingredient note)
- 1/4 c olive oil, plus more for frying
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 c water
- 1 bunch asparagus, bottoms removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 8 fresh artichoke hearts, or 1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts (8-10 count), sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 small bunch watercress
- Line a large glass baking dish with parchment paper or wax paper.
- In a saucepan, bring water, 1/4 c olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, then slowly stir in chickpea flour until completely smooth and incorporated. Pour chickpea mixture into prepared baking dish. Cover with parchment or wax paper and refrigerate for one to two hours, or until cool enough to cut. (This is a good time to prepare the vegetables for the sauté.)
- When panisse is nearly chilled, prepare vegetables: In a large skillet, heat several tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until golden. Add asparagus and artichokes and sauté until browned and nearly cooked through. Remove vegetables to a serving bowl. Add watercress to pan and heat in remaining oil until wilted and dark green. Mix wilted watercress with asparagus mixture. Keep warm until ready to serve.
- Cut panisse into approximately 1" x 2" strips. Heat oil for frying in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry until crispy and golden-brown, about 5 minutes, turning once midway through cooking. Serve vegetables over panisse strips immediately.
Ingredient note: Panisse is traditionally made from chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour. Bob's Red Mill and Authentic Foods are two reliable suppliers I've found both online and in some larger supermarkets. If you can't find or don't want to use chickpea flour, other options include gram (not to be confused with graham) flour, which is made from peas, or romano bean flour.