giovedì 24 aprile 2014

The Panelle

Today it does so much "cool" to go around for the world to try the street food, natural father of the most modern fast-food. Needless to say you that in Sicily, where we are ahead always, we have been serving it for centuries: we have invented fast-food, practically. I know, you will be thinking that I am a flag-waving terrona[1], an extremist of the terrone’s thought. Well, a fund of truth there is perhaps, the certainty however it is in the fact that I madly love my earth and above all my city Palermo, an old stretched out lady between a mountain (Monte Pellegrino[2]) and the sea, noble, indolent, magnificent despite the marked signs of the time, that it still emanates a strong aura, memory of her shines of Liberty époque and of all of her ancient history.

But before I attach a melancholy essay of endless pages on the beauty of Palermo, we return to the street food. Useless to ask you who has left it in inheritance because the answer is almost rhetorical: the Arabs. Just in the recipe of the panelle, however the influence of French is also recognized, it seems in fact has been the Angevin to introduce the palermitan[3] to the frying. The panelle together with the "cazzilli[4]" constitute one of the binomial ones more succeeded in the history of the traditional Sicilian gastronomy. "Manciarisi 'u bellu pani chi panielli e i cazzilli[5]" it is for the palermitan a true satisfaction, together with so many other delicacies of the kind street food: pani ca' meusa, stigghiole, frittola, sfincionello, arancine[6] with the whole succession of its family, the "rosticceria[7]."
The characteristics of the palermitan street food are essentially two: the first one is that "if you don't grease your hands at least " you are squareing off badly the battle; the second, it must be "abbannìato[8]". The syncopated scream of the palermitan seller is a delight for the ears of the pedestrian, attracted by him as Ulisse was from the sirens. As to say, in short, that is not only the taste of the food to give the intense flavor to these culinary delicacies.

No more chatting! Here is the recipe of these fanciful chickpea flour fritters.

500 gr. of chickpea flour; 1,5 l. of water; 2 full coffee teaspoons of salt; pepper q.b.; parsley; finocchiu 'ngranatu (seeds of wild fennel); oilseed.

Sift the chickpea flour in a large pot and, pouring the cold water to thread, to melten it. Beat the mixture with a whip (or to beat it some second with the hand blender) eliminating all the possible lumps, add the salt and the pepper. Put the pot on the heat and leave to cook to middle flame, continually mixing, until the mixture is stiff and starts to stick at the base of the pan. Keep on cooking for other five minutes around, adding the minced parsley (and "u finocchiu 'ngranatu", if you appreciated it). Keep out from heat and, helping yourself with the spoon, pour quickly the mixture in a great container wet previously to the inside with some water or greasy with oilseed (before the advent of the plastics, for this purpose, were used the barrel of the oilseed). Leave to cool completely, turn out the chickpea “bread” and cut it so that to get some slices of around 2-3 millimeters thickness: you must be realized some rectangles of such a dimension by to be able to comfortably have put inside the sandwiches. Fry the panelle in warm deep-oil for few minutes, watching out to make them gild from both sides. To extract them with the perforated spoon and put in a small baking-pan with some sheets of rolling paper. Salt again, just a little bit, and shake to eliminate the oiled in excess and to make to diwy up well the salt.
It does not stay whether to take them and to bring to her mouth, natùre or with some drops of lemon juice, inside the bread or alone: "e viri chi manci[9]”.

[1] Terrone is derogatory term used by Northern Italians to describe Southern Italians.
[2] W. Goethe defined Monte Pellegrino “the most beautiful promontory of the world”.
[3] Native of Palermo.
[4] Croquettes of potatoes from the unmistakable form of little penis from which they take the name
[5] To eat a good sandwich with panelle and cazzilli” in Sicilian language.
[6] All typical street food from Palermo.
[7] Food typology.
[9] Literally: “and you see what you eat”.