Simple (Three Ingredients!) French Finger Food
If you have a copy of My Paris Market Cookbook I hope you’ve tried- or will try- to make Socca (page 26). These easy chickpea pancakes are light yet filling, with the protein and fiber packed legumes leaving you feel well fed and happy. Panisse, which is also a specialty from Nice, is a spin on Socca, using the same ingredients but a method that renders them into the perfect bite size finger food.
If you happen to deal with a toddler on a regular basis, the advantages of healthy finger foods is immediately obvious. I got the idea to make Panisse when my friend Juliette brought her two year old over for a playdate with a lunch box of golden chickpea nuggets in tow. My bundle of joy happily stuffed her mouth with the vitamin packed goûter and I immediately asked Juliette for her recette.
As toddler law obliges, June would have nothing to do with these chickpea delights when I made them for her a few days later. Knowing a toddler is knowing that every day brings a new set of opinions about the world around them. I’m sure her thoughts on delicious, healthy food that mommy spent the afternoon making for her will change eventually. In the meantime, I can attest that these snacks are great for grownups, too. Sprinkled with salt and lightly dressed with fresh lemon juice they make for a great apéro or even an accompaniment to a soup or stew.
Another advantage is that Panisse can be made all year round and costs very little to make, thanks to the affordability of chickpea flour and the fact that the other ingredients - water, oil, salt- are common and perennial pantry items. Juliette recommended adding a touch of cumin to the batter, which I did and have included in this recipe, but you can also just use salt and be happy with your results!
Serves 4 people (or zero to one moody toddler, depending on the day)
4 1/4 cup (1 liter) water
1 teaspoon cumin
2 3/4 cup (250 grams) chick pea flour
1 cup (118 ml) olive oil
And salt and cumin to water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, slowly stir in the chick pea flour. Remove from heat and stir until well combined, it’s okay to have lumps here- just make sure there are no dry spots. Return to medium heat and continue to stir vigorously for 5 minutes, or until you have a thick batter- again, you’ll have some lumps, that’s okay.
Spread the batter in a nonstick pan or greased dish until you have a uniform layer of batter, thickness will depend on the dish, but 1/2 inch thick is ideal. Let cool in the refrigerator overnight if you have time, or at least 1 hour if in a rush.
Preheat oven to 390°F (200°C).
Once chilled, cut the cake into pieces of whatever shape you wish, sticks or triangles are classic but you could use cookie cutters here for something more fun! Place sticks/shapes on a cookie sheet and coat with olive oil. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, until golden and holding their form. The middle should be melty and the outside crispy- think veggie versions of mozzarella sticks! Cool before serving.