Recipes | Rosemary and chilli panisse


Rosemary and chilli panisse

I was thrilled to find this recipe in chef Claire Thomson's brilliant new book The Five o'clock Apron. It's an irresistible snack I always order in her restaurant Flinty Red.

The book records the suppers she makes for her three young children (hence the 5 o'clock reference) but it's the kind of food that any of us would fancy eating.

Panisse is a traditional Italian (and Provençal FB) street food. Crunchy, gnarled and gnobbled, these bite-size pieces of fried chickpea batter are a moreish snack. The unfried panisse will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days, but it might release a bit of water, so change the container every day, and fry when needed.

Makes enough for a couple of bowlfuls

- 150g chickpea (gram) flour

- 500ml water

- salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)

- 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves

- chilli flakes, to taste (about ½ tsp does the trick)

- sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying

1. Sift the chickpea flour into a pan and whisk in the cold water gradually to avoid lumps. Add ½ teaspoon of salt, the chopped rosemary and chilli flakes to taste.

2. Place over a moderately high heat, mixing continuously with a whisk until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble. Once it does, switch to a wooden spoon, turn the heat to low and cook, stirring continuously, for another 10 minutes.

3. Spread the mixture on a 28 x 20cm baking tray to a depth of about 1–2 cm, roughing up the surface as you go – this will give the broken pieces of panisse a good rubbly texture when fried. Leave to stand for 1 hour.

4. When ready to fry the panisse, roughly break it into thumbsize nuggets.

5. Heat some oil in a large, deep pan (the oil should be at least 5cm deep) over a moderately high heat until approximately 180°C. If you don't have a thermometer, drop a cube of bread into the hot oil and it should fry golden brown in 60 seconds. Fry the panisse in small batches until golden all over – about 1–1½ minutes.

6. Drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with extra salt as you wish, extra chilli flakes and/or black pepper.

What to drink: this is designed to accompany an aperitif so would suit almost any crisp white wine or rosé, dry sparkling wine or a glass of chilled manzanilla

The Five O’ Clock Apron by Claire Thomson is published by Ebury Press, £20. Photography by Mike Lusmore. You can find more of Claire's recipes in the Guardian.

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