Super Fly Fries
While poring through cookbooks for cocktail-nosh inspiration, I got sidetracked -- thank goodness. The culprit: a recipe for panisse, also known as chickpea fries. Yes, you read that right; you can make fries from chickpea flour, and once you do, you may never want fries of the potato variety ever again. They’re THAT good. Common in the south of France, panisse are also known as panelle along the Meditterrean coast of Italy.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of my first panisse experience at Kinkead's in D.C., overcome by their deliciousness while pondering how one actually makes fries from chickpea flour. With the help of pastry chef Francois Payard’s gem of a little book, “Bite Size,” now I know: You cook the chickpea flour with liquid until it becomes a paste, which is poured into a pan and allow to set up in the fridge. Within an hour, the paste takes on curd-like properties, resembling tofu. It’s thick enough to slice into “fries” which are crisped in oil and within two minutes, the panisse swooning will commence.
Eaten by their lonesome with salt and pepper or with your favorite condiment, panisse bring a whole new meaning to the word “fry.” Super fly is more like it.
P.S. Still looking for that cocktail nosh for the Easter dinner we’ve been invited to…
Adapted from “Bite Size” by Francois Payard
1 quart chicken stock (KOD: I used water; you could also use veg stock)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste (I recommend at least 2 teaspoons)
ground white pepper (black pepper kinda sticks out like a sore thumb)
2 ½ cups chickpea flour
1 quart vegetable oil with high smoking point, such as peanut, safflower or grapeseed
Line a 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper (KOD: with an overhang to help lift out of pan). Place liquid and olive oil in a small pot and season with salt and pepper. Warm liquid slightly over low heat; then whisk in chickpea flour until mixture is smooth. Turn heat to high and whisk continuously until flour is cooked and turns into a thick paste, 4-5 minutes.
Remove from heat and spread evenly into prepared pan. Refrigerate until batter is completely chilled, at least one hour.
When ready to fry, pour oil in a deep skillet or wok. Clip a deep-frying thermometer to the side of the pan and heat oil to 400 degrees.
Carefully lift panisse out of pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into 2-inch-long strips. (KOD: the texture will be curdlike, resembling tofu.) Gently drop strips into oil in small batches and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Do not crowd the pan and maintain oil at a steady 400 degrees (KOD: Don’t stray from pan; the fries cook very quickly and easily burn.)
When done, remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
By Kim ODonnel |
April 10, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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