These golden fingers of crunchy chickpea goodness are a genuine slice of the south of France. In Provence they’re sometimes served alongside meat but they are mostly offered before a meal as a can’t-stop-eating-them snack, scattered with a generous sprinkling of salt and cracked pepper.
If you’re familiar with making polenta fries you will find the process here pretty similar; make a thick batter, stir until thoroughly cooked (well, that’s a job for the Thermomix), and leave it to set until it’s firm enough to cut into ready-to-fry fingers or wedges.
The panisses are even better with Yolaine Corbin’s irresistible garlic dipping sauce. If you’re planning to make it—believe us when we say that if you don’t, you’re missing out—feel free to mix up the steps below and get on with making the sauce while the chickpea batter sets in the fridge.
Best eaten with the kinds of friends who like to stand around chatting in the kitchen—take care that the eager ones don’t burn their fingers when those alluring panisses are fresh from the pan—and a glass of Provencal-style chilled rosé.
- For the panisses, heat the water, butter, olive oil and salt 6 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1. Add the chickpea flour and cook 7 minutes/100 degrees/speed 4 to a smooth, thick batter.
- Pour this mixture evenly onto a tray lined with silicone paper, or into a wide-based, oiled dish. Allow to set in the fridge for at least an hour until very firm.
- Turn the set batter onto a chopping board and cut into chunky fries shapes.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy based skillet over medium heat and gently fry the panisses to golden-brown colour on all sides. Reserve on kitchen paper towel to drain excess fat. Serve hot with garlic dipping sauce as pre-dinner nibble or as a side dish.
- For the garlic dipping sauce, place a small jug on top of the mixing bowl lid and weigh the 2 oils together. Set aside.
- Put garlic and herbs (if using) into a clean bowl and blitz 3 seconds/speed 7. Add peanuts and mix 15 seconds/speed 5. Scrape sides and repeat. Add mustard, vinegar (or lemon juice), egg yolk and yoghurt, season with salt and pepper and set the blade to 2 minutes/speed 4. While it is mixing, pour the oils gradually through the hole of the mixing bowl to emulsify like a mayonnaise.
- Garnish with pumpkin seeds (if using). Serve as a dipping sauce for the panisses.
AND … We wondered if these outrageously moreish snacks had lent their name to Alice Waters’ legendary California restaurant, Chez Panisse, which opened in 1971. Turns out she named the place for a character in a Marcel Pagnol film set in Marseille. Given that panisses are so popular in Marseille, we suspect there’s a connection of some kind, even if it’s tenuous.