I’d never heard of this sandwich 18 months ago when a customer suggested we make one. And to be honest, I’m still not sure I’m pronouncing the name correctly.
The customer used to run Puma’s marketing. He told me he was Sicilian and this was a comfort food type thing for him. I think I remember him telling me this is something kids would eat when they come home from school. He had a dreamy look in his eyes, and I knew I’d have to try this Panelle thing.
I haven’t been to Sicily, so I really can’t speak to whether this is a good representation of what was being described. I asked Chris to work on something and after multiple food development meetings and a couple of live customer tests at Kendall we’re here with our Panelle. It’s only the second day but I’m wondering if it’s going to knock the Chickpea Fritter off the throne. It’s that good.
And since this is sort of a foreign food to me it’s a little hard to describe. It’s a chickpea flour based thing, similar to polenta but with chickpea flour. And we deep fry it. It has a crust, but it’s a texture that reminds me more of Chille Relleno if you know that, sort of eggy. We serve it with shaved fennel tossed with some olive oil and olives and use a lemony-mayonaise based sauce. It’s really satisfying. Sort of mild but delicious. And very satisfying. The panelle has a texture sort of similar to a fluffy scrambled egg, but with that Relleno crust.
You might be able to describe it better than I can. Give it a try and let us know how you’d talk about this new sandwich. And tell us if it’s going to challenge the Chickpea in your sandwich buying. This might be another Brussels for us, a sandwich we can’t take off the menu even when the season is passed…