chickpea frites

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I judge a city by its street food.  

If I can walk from one end of the city to the other and never have to sit down to eat: it's a good place. 

Montreal failed on this account. There was the $2 Chow Mein window, but you had to be a poor and inebriated McGill student. Istanbul wins by miles. The temptations on the sidewalk encourage gluttony. The South of France in the summer takes second place. In Nice you can walk around in your bathing suit (something that doesn't work as well in Istanbul) with hot chickpea fritters called panisse (or panelle in other parts of the world). 

They are so easy to make so you don't have to go to France to indulge. And if you live in Phoenix, where every weekend from now until May is a good one for a backyard cookout, consider these frites with hamburgers on the grill and some homemade ketchup. 

Chickpea Frites (Panisses or Panelles)

4 cups water
2 cups chickpea flour
2 teaspoons olive oil
Coarse salt
White pepper
4 sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
Oil for frying

1. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit on a cookie sheet. Then lightly grease the parchment. 

2. Heat the water and 2 teaspoons olive oil in a saucepan. Just before it boils, slowly add the chickpea flour. Use a whisk to stir in the flour as the batter should be smooth.  Add white pepper and salt to taste. Cook for 10 more minutes, switch to a wooden spoon and stir constantly. The batter should thicken and pull away from the sides of the saucepan. 

3. Spread the batter onto the greased parchment, 1/2 inch thick. Work quickly. When the batter has set, cut it into sticks or whatever fun shape you like. 

4. In an cast iron skillet, heat the oil. (No more than 1/2 an inch is needed, and vegetable or olive oil will do). Dip in one end of a chickpea stick to test if the oil is ready. If it sizzles it's hot enough. Then add the chickpea sticks, but don't overcrowd the pan.  

5. Use tongs to turn the sticks as needed and when they are golden set them on a paper towel to drain off excess oil.  Toss them in parsley and salt. 

6. Eat them HOT: crispy on the outside and custardy on the inside!  

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Posted on February 24, 2012 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.