This Recipe includes
|Chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo, besan flour, or gram flour)|
|Olive oil and vegetable oil for baking or frying|
|Garlic powder or flakes|
|Pinch of salt and pepper|
Why we love it
If you’re ever in the mood for something light and provençale, then you will want to try this panisse recipe from the south of France. This vegetarian dish is a classic in Nice and Marseille, and along much of the French Riviera, similar to Italian farinata.
Made out of chickpeas, these lightly fried sticks look almost like cheese sticks or chicken tenders but are a healthy source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Not to mention being gluten-free and dairy-free.
The French love to cook, and the Provence region of France is particularly known for its delicious cuisine. (There is a debate as to whether panisse is from Nice or Marseille, so we could just solve the debate by attributing it to the region of Provence, however it is also popular in Brittany at the other end of the country.)
Nonetheless, with bright sunshine much of the year and beautiful coastal landscapes, this is the land of the apéro. Long meals with family and friends are the norm, where in comes the panisse.
Panisse which is usually served as an appetizer, is often compared to socca which is also from Nice and made from chickpea flour. Both have been dubbed to be some of the best vegetarian finger foods because of their rich flavor and texture. Perfect along with that glass of pastis or other apéritif from the South of France.
So let’s get to the recipe of panisse, and tips on making this party apperitzer, shall we? Allons-y!
Main ingredient: Gluten-free Chickpea flour
If you are not familiar with chickpea flour (also called garbanzo flour, besan flour, or gram flour), it is a gluten-free flour that looks very much like regular flour, except a tinge more yellow.
It is full of protein and is gaining in popularity, as awareness grows around gluten-free recipes and its health benefits for those with an intolerance. So you should find that it is easily available in most large grocery stores.
Baking vs Frying
The classic panisse recipe usually calls for frying them in a pan. But if you are intimidated by frying panisse, looking to reduce the oil used for calorie count, or simply don’t have the time, you can bake it. Both are equally delicious.
For frying: You can use olive oil which has a smoke point of 325°F, just let the panisse turn nice and brown for 3-5 minutes, before removing from the pan. Canola oil or sunflower oil are also fine, if you intend to fry the panisse.
For baking: You can use a large baking dish and then cut up the panisse, or you can get a silicon mold pan which will bake individual finger portions directly. Just spray the baking pan with baking spray, and you are good to go.
Sauces for Panisse
What to serve with panisse?
What drinks to serve with it?
Since panisse is usually served at happy hour, any light apéritif will do. Cocktails and apéritif drinks are never served during a typical dinner in France, only wine and water, so this is your chance to get creative.
If you do want wine, a light white Côtes de Provence or Cassis Blanc goes well and is keeps with the South of France theme. A chilled rosé or champagne also will be lovely. You can read more about French wines here.
How to store it?
If you want to prepare panisse in advance and freeze it, you can. Let the panisse cool and wrap each slice in film paper, and then put in an airtight container. This should reduce water accumulating, and you will easily be able to take out the portion you want.
- 250 g chickpea flour
- 1 liter of water (4.15 cups)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- pinch of garlic flakes
- pinch of sea salt and pepper
- oil for frying or baking spray if baking
- Bring water to boil in a saucepan.
- Take the saucepan off the heat and slowly add the chickpea flour while stirring with a whisk.
- Put the saucepan back on the stove at low temperature and continue whisking.
- Add salt and pepper into the mixture.
- Simmer on stove for 10 minutes to all some of the water to evaporate, stirring occasionally till it is smooth.
- (If the dough is still lumpy, mix with a handmixer.)
- Take off the stove.
- Spoon the mixture into a tray with individual serving portions (the shape doesn’t matter).
- Let cool then set aside 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- When the dough is well set, take each portion out.
- In a frying pan, add 1/4 inch of cooking oil and place on high heat.
- Cook each piece of dough and brown lightly for around 3-5 minutes each.
- Pat dry with absorbent tissue paper.
- Serve while warm.
- Spray your baking pan with baking spray and scoop in the dough.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).
- Place your baking sheet inside when it is hot, and bake for 25 minutes.
- Once it looks cooked and golden brown, take it out of the oven.
- Remove from the mold, cutting it into pieces if necessary to serve as finger food.
- Serve while warm.
If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic recipes from Provence that are easy to prepare. Bon appétit and à bientôt !