Panelle siciliane, the heart of street food
Panelle siciliane are small chickpea flour fritters, popular in Palermo, the European capital of street food according to recent surveys carried out among tourists and the online community. Panelle are known throughout Italy and are the product of the combination of Italian street culinary arts and Arabic tradition. The first panelle originate from the domination of Arab culture, between the ninth and the eleventh century A.D.
Original panelle siciliane are served as a filling for “mafalde”, a 200g roll with a sesame seed crust, or in sandwiches of unleavened bread called “cacciotti”. They are usually eaten with “cazzilli” (potato croquettes) or with other delicacies fried in extra-virgin olive oil.
Panelle are a classic snack on the streets of this Sicilian city, bridging different cultures and classes. Each citizen considers it to be his own dish: it is one that everybody has in common. Over the years the “maestri panellari” with their wooden carts have provided panelle to great Italian artists such as Luigi Pirandello, Renato Guttuso, Leonardo Sciascia and many more, and the latter even used panelle siciliane in the plot of his novel The Day Of The Owl.