In Siracusa I tentatively bought a small bag of some sugary, fried, honey sweet things which tasted scrumptious but left me seriously regretful the next day. Still, I had a reputation to maintain! My neighbours believed I was a brave adventurer, a plucky little pensioner all on her own in a strange land, how could I tarnish such a courageous image?
So I dabbled in various sticky, fried items from street stalls. That’s how I was introduced to panelle and the best panelle was in Mercato Ballaro in Palermo.
Panelle is the Queen of street food, a basic mixture of water and chickpea flour cooked into a porridge, and then cooled until firm, cut into pieces, and fried in olive oil.
Serve as is, or top the warm fritters with sea salt, freshly ground pepper, lemon juice, grated pecorino, or herbs like flat leaf parsley, Italian basil, rosemary or mint.
I’ve added an egg to the traditional recipe, I find it makes a better mix to work with.
Caciocavallo is a common cheese in Sicily. I only ever saw it made from sheeps milk but I know it’s also made from cows milk. I had a nice smoked slab in Agrigento too.
If you can’t get caciocavallo, use reggiano, or parmiagiano.