In Sicily, they call these simple little chickpea fritters panelle, and they're typically served as street food on a bun with a scoop of ricotta. I thought it might be fun to take the idea out of Italy and bring it down South.
In this version, chickpeas stand in for fried chicken. The sandwich is dressed with spinach, tomato slices, blue cheese, and sliced shallot. This recipe below makes quite a few fritters, enough for about 6 sandwiches or more, which is a good thing considering they are quite addictive.
A little magic happens when these things begin to cook. The outside layer becomes craggy and crispy, the next layer is slightly chewy, and the center is creamy. They are so good that they're worth a few extra a calories.
Fried Chickpea Sandwich
2 cups broth
2 cups chickpea flour
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups canola oil (for frying)
olive oil mayonnaise
6 sesame buns
6 tomato slices
1/4 cup sliced shallot
4 ounces blue cheese (crumbled)
In a medium saucepan, add chickpea flour to cold broth and whisk. Gradually bring the mixture up to a boil as you whisk. Once the mixture becomes thick, add the water and whisk some more. Allow mixture to cook on low for 15 minutes. In an olive-oil-coated 9x12 casserole pan, quickly spread the mixture evenly to the edges. Use a sheet of waxed paper to press the mixture into place.
Once the mixture has cooled completely, turn it out onto a cutting board. Cut into two-inch squares and then cut each square in half to form triangles. Bring canola oil up to medium-high heat in a sauce pan. Fry chickpea patties in batches if five for about five minutes a piece or until they pass golden brown and are more toasted brown in color. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper.
To serve (immediately!): toast buns, spread with a bit of olive oil, pile on 3-4 fritters, a handful of spinach, a slice of tomato, a few sliced shallots, and a little blue cheese.