/Panelle: Fried Carbs, Sicilian Style

Panelle: Fried Carbs, Sicilian Style


Panelle are deep fried chick pea fritters, a starchy combination of chick pea flour, water, herbs, and salt that are found widely in western Sicily. I first encountered them in Palermo’s Ballaro’ market where flat, rectangular slices are fried in large vats of oil and served on a semolina roll. Panelle are among my favorite Sicilian street foods and I never pass up a chance to eat them, even when these opportunities arise in slightly more formal settings than the chaotic markets of Palermo. Last week during a quick trip to Sicily, I ate at Osteria Le Tre Salette, a common haunt of mine in Trapani. There, the panelle are served without bread and are liberally seasoned with wild fennel, salt and pepper. They were dense, starchy, and full of flavor, a wonderful way to start a Sicilian feast.

2016-01-07T14:37:55+00:00 June 7th, 2009|Categories: Fried Foods, Gastronomic Traditions, Sicily|9 Comments


  1. JP June 8, 2009 at 4:28 am - Reply

    I think that I would really like the Trapani-style panelle — will have to try it on my next visit to Sicily. The smells, the sounds and the hustle & bustle of the Ballaro market add to the flavor of the panelle AND the semolina bread is so tasty. Wish there was someplace in the good ole USA to get one!

  2. Katie June 8, 2009 at 7:29 am - Reply

    We should definitely go back to Sicily soon. Xmas??? In the meantime, you could always try making it at Chez Parla:)

  3. Kelly June 8, 2009 at 5:56 pm - Reply


    I’m going to Sicily this summer. Any recommendation for a good, not too fancy restaurant in Palermo for dinner that serves traditional Sicilian food?

    I may try the place you mention in Trapani. I love chick pea fritters!

  4. Katie June 15, 2009 at 12:02 am - Reply

    @Kelly Eating in downtown Palermo can sometimes be tricky. I find the best food is street food; it’s much cheaper and more satisfying than most restaurants. For a proper restaurant meal, check out Divino Rosso or La Casa del Brodo. Whatever you do, avoid Antica Focacceria di San Francesco which is crap and nothing but hype. For great street food, check out this post. Enjoy!

  5. Rizzuole November 16, 2009 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    […] arancina, a deep fried rice ball filled with ragu’, for example), sometimes they will not (panelle). What is certain, however, is that we are very very lucky that Diana’s husband is a […]

  6. […] vegetable. Boiled cardoons were sold from large aluminum pots and fried cardoons were sold at the panelle vendor’s stall. Guess which one I went […]

  7. Arancina Bomba November 30, 2009 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    […] Touring in Palermo. I had big plans of having my rice ball bomb as a snack followed by a panino con le panelle in Ballaro’ for […]

  8. A Guide to Roman Fried Food June 19, 2010 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    […] Panelle are fried chick pea fritters served on bread. You can find these at Baciamo Le Mani (Via Cardinale Marmaggi 12). […]

  9. […] to the stall in Piazza Ballaro’, where the vendors (a husband and wife team, I believe) drop panelle into a bubbling cauldron of oil to order. They stuff each sesame seeded roll with 5-6 of the piping […]

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