These Sicilian chickpea fritters make a great gluten-free Italian main, and are beautifully complemented by sweet summer vegetables: peas, broad beans, artichokes.
Rachel Roddy, racheleats.wordpress.com
For the panelle
300g chickpea flour
Salt and black pepper
3 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
Olive oil, for frying
For the frittedda
2-3 artichokes, dark outer leaves removed
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200g spring onions or mild sweet white onions, finely sliced
100ml water or white wine
300g shelled broad beans
300g shelled peas
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
A handful of fennel fronds
1 Cut away the stringy outside of the artichoke stalks and trim away the green parts of the base. Trim the pointed tops of the remaining leaves and cut the artichoke in half. Scoop out the choke. Cut each half into 6 wedges and rub with lemon. Submerge them in cold water and lemon juice to stop them discolouring.
2 To make the panelle, whisk the chickpea flour in a saucepan with the water until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. Slowly bring the pan to a gentle boil, whisking all the time, and cook for 8-10 minutes until the mixture thickens, then stir in the parsley.
3 Pour the thick mixture on to an oiled baking sheet. Spread and flatten it to a 1cm thickness using the back of a spoon dipped in hot water. Leave it to cool and set for a few hours.
4 Next, prepare the frittedda. Fry the onions in oil over a medium flame until soft and translucent. Add the artichoke hearts and 50ml of the wine or water. Cover and cook over a low flame for 5 minutes. Then add the peas, the broad beans and the remaining wine or water. Cover the pan again and cook for 10 minutes until the veg is soft. Stir in the parsley and fennel. Season to taste. Let the frittedda settle for a few minutes so the flavours can emerge.
5 Cut the chickpea dough into rounds, squares or diamonds – if it is sticky, use a spatula to lift it from the tray – then shallow fry in olive oil until golden on each side. Serve the panelle with the frittedda and half a lemon.