Learn How to Make Panisse an Easy Recipe
While you have most likely tried polenta before, if you have not visited the South of France you may not have sampled panisse or socca. Golden brown, slightly crispy and topped with a fleur de sel, it’s hard to resist freshly made panisse. Below is my easy recipe for panisse and one I share with students at Laurel, my cooking school in the Alpilles.
Panisse and socca are made with chickpea flour, whereas polenta requires cornmeal. Traditionally panisse and socca are street foods popular in Marseille and Nice. The Niçoise (residents of Nice) claim socca as their culinary invention, although determining the exact origins of any recipe found along the Mediterranean coast is opaque. The socca batter goes into a cast iron pan and is cooked at a high temperature. Minutes later, the crispy pancake-like snack is ready. Panisse is cooked more like polenta in a saucepan and then fried. Both panisse and socca are delicious as snacks or side dishes.
How to Make Panisse
- 1 cup Chickpea Flour sifted
- 2 cups Water
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Herbes de Provence
- 1 Preserved Lemon patted dry and cut into 10 thin strips
- Heat the oven to 205°C / 400°F. While the oven preheats, prepare your panisse
- Line a 10-inch / 20 cm shallow-rimmed baking dish with parchment paper round and lightly grease with olive oil
- In a medium bowl, measure 125g of chickpea flour and add a generous pinch of salt, roughly 20 mill turns of ground pepper and two pinches of dried herbes de Provence. Whisk to combine.
- In a small saucepan, bring 500 mL of water to a rapid simmer
- Once simmering, slowly add the chickpea flour, whisking constantly
- “Cook” the flour for 3-5 minutes while whisking to remove as many lumps by hand as possible. The mixture should thicken significantly, but that’s OK!
- If using an immersion blender, remove the pan from heat and blend until lumps disappear (may take 2-3 minutes)
- Scoop the mixture into the greased and lined baking dish and smooth the top to an even layer. Set aside to cool slightly before cooling it in the fridge.
Cooking the Panisse:
- Remove the panisse from the fridge and using a paring knife, separate the sides of the panisse from the dish. Invert onto a cutting board.
- Cut the panisse into pieces; typical shapes include steak fry, small pie wedges, 1-2in rounds, etc. or simple 1-inch cubes
- Prepare a paper towel-lined plate for the fried panisse
- Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp of neutral oil (grapeseed, canola, etc.) in a medium non-stick frying pan over high heat
- Once lightly smoking, carefully add the panisse pieces and allow to pan fry for a couple of minutes until crispy and golden brown, carefully turning to fry all sides
- Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel-lined plate
- Sprinkle with fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper