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  • Writer's pictureThe Sicilian Wanderer

Sandwich "Panelle and Crocchè": the delicious Sicilian specialty balancing softness and crunchiness


Sandwich "Panelle and Crocchè

The sandwich with panelle and crocchè is much more than a simple snack: it embodies the very essence of Sicilian culinary tradition. This street food, born in the bustling and lively streets of Palermo, has become a symbol of the island, narrating through its flavors the history and culture of a people. When it comes to Sicilian street food, the sandwich with panelle and crocchè is undeniably one of the main attractions. Its simplicity hides an explosion of flavors that only Sicily can offer. The panelle, thin chickpea flour fritters, are a true institution. Made with the purest chickpea flour and seasoned with a pinch of pepper, they are fried on the spot, ensuring an external crunchiness and an internal softness that only Sicilian tradition can create.

But the sandwich wouldn't be complete without the crocchè. These potato fritters are a delight for the palate: the crispy exterior hides a soft and flavorful heart, made of mashed potatoes, enriched with fresh parsley, garlic, and, in some variations, cheese. Each crocchè is a small sensory journey, a dive into the traditions of an island rich in history and culinary passion. And framing these flavors is the bread. Not just any bread, but a soft pillow of flour and yeast, slightly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, that embraces panelle and crocchè in a tasty hug. Eating this sandwich is like taking a trip to Palermo, feeling enveloped by the scents and noises of the city, walking in its crowded streets, and feeling part of a tradition that lives and breathes in every bite.


Here's the recipe for Sicilian panelle and Palermitan crocchè, with all the necessary steps and ingredients!

panelle siciliane

PANELLE

Ingredients:

  • 500g chickpea flour

  • 1 liter of water

  • Salt to taste

  • Black pepper to taste

  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste

  • Fresh rosemary (optional)

Procedure:

  • In a bowl, sift the chickpea flour.

  • In a pot, bring the water to a boil and add salt and pepper.

  • Add the sifted chickpea flour and mix well with a whisk, ensuring there are no lumps.

  • Continue stirring the mixture over medium-low heat for about 30-40 minutes, until it thickens.

  • Add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional) and stir for a few more minutes.

  • Pour the mixture onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and level the surface. Allow it to cool and solidify for at least an hour.

  • Cut the panelle into rectangles or squares and fry in plenty of extra virgin olive oil until they become golden and crispy.



crocchè siciliane

CROCCHÉ Ingredients:

  • 1 kg of potatoes

  • 150g of grated cheese (preferably caciocavallo)

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley

  • Salt to taste

  • Black pepper to taste

  • Flour as needed

  • Eggs as needed

  • Breadcrumbs as needed

  • Sunflower oil for frying

Procedure:

  • Boil the potatoes with their skin on and mash them in a bowl.

  • Add the grated cheese, finely chopped garlic clove, and chopped parsley. Mix well.

  • Season with salt and black pepper.

  • Form balls with the mixture and slightly flatten them.

  • Dip each crocchè in flour, then in beaten egg, and finally in breadcrumbs.

  • Fry the crocchè in hot sunflower oil until they become golden and crispy.

  • Drain the crocchè on paper towels and serve hot.


But do you think it's possible to make a light version of the sandwich with panelle and crocchè? We don't think so, but we'll give it a try.


LIGHT PANELLE AND CROCCHÈ SANDWICH

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole wheat or rye buns

  • 150g of fried panelle (recipe as above, but bake the panelle in the oven instead of frying)

  • 2 oven-baked crocchè (recipe as above, but bake the crocchè in the oven instead of frying)

  • Mixed salad

  • Tomato

  • Cucumber

  • Carrots

  • Fresh chili pepper (optional)

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Procedure:

  • Cut the buns in half and toast them lightly.

  • Wash and dice the tomato, cucumber, and carrots.

  • Mix together the salad ingredients and season with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Add some pieces of fresh chili pepper if you like it spicy.

  • Place some mixed salad on the bottom half of the bun, then add the oven-baked panelle and crocchè.

  • Cover with the other half of the bun and serve.

This light version of the panelle and crocchè sandwich will allow you to enjoy the flavors of Sicilian cuisine without going overboard with calories and fats. Enjoy your meal!


vegan sicilian recepies

Today, we're going all out:

Here's a vegan version of the sandwich with panelle and crocchè, allowing you to savor all the flavors of Sicilian cuisine without any animal-derived ingredients.


VEGAN PANELLE AND CROCCHÈ SANDWICH

Ingredients:

  • 2 vegan buns

  • 150g of fried panelle (recipe as above, but bake the panelle in the oven instead of frying)

  • 2 oven-baked crocchè (recipe as above, but bake the crocchè in the oven instead of frying)

  • Mixed salad

  • Tomato

  • Cucumber

  • Carrots

  • Fresh chili pepper (optional)

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Procedure:

  • Cut the buns in half and lightly toast them.

  • Wash and dice the tomato, cucumber, and carrots.

  • Mix together the salad ingredients and season with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Add some pieces of fresh chili pepper if you like it spicy.

  • Place some mixed salad on the bottom half of the bun, then add the oven-baked panelle and crocchè.

  • Cover with the other half of the bun and serve.

In this vegan version of the panelle and crocchè sandwich, you can use vegan buns and replace the grated cheese in the crocchè recipe with vegan cheese made from cashews or soy. Additionally, you can use organic chickpea flour and use a non-stick pan to cook the panelle instead of the oven if you prefer.

This sandwich is perfect for vegans or for those who want to enjoy the flavors of Sicilian cuisine without any animal-derived ingredients. Enjoy your meal!

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