Frigittorie, found all over Palermo, means things fried, and the selections are endless. Breaded eggplant, broccoli, artichokes—all of the vegetables in season are coated with a flour paste (pastella) and find their way into a fryer. In Palermo, one of the undisputed specialties is panella, made of chickpea flour and cooked like polenta, chilled, and then cut into thick slices that are fried in olive oil. Fried panelle are eaten as is, or multiple slices are piled in a sesame bun and enjoyed as a big sandwich.
Unlike most of America’s other favorite fast foods, falafel is rarely attempted at home, which is a shame, since it’s very simple to do, and even a relative novice like me can get some very decent results. One word of warning: you do need to know you’re going to have a craving for this a full day before you actually want to eat it.
Gram flour, also known as garbanzo bean flour, chickpea flour, or besan, is a pulse flour made from ground chickpeas. Used in many countries, it is a staple ingredient in Indian, Pakistani, Nepali and Bangladeshi cuisines.