Tuesday, 8 March 2011

GOURMET WORDS FROM THE LIGURIAN RIVIERA: PANISSA - CHICK PEA POLENTA


Innovative - yet traditionally mouthwatering - panissa salad beignets...


Sottoripa, the medieval porticoed area by the port of Genoa, is the cradle of this exquisite treat, once prepared during the Lent period. This chick-pea flour polenta (recipes and proportions abound, but remember that water bath is the best technique) is set out in oil-veiled soup plates. Cut into slices, it is fried or served into a salad with onions or stewed beet greens. Old cookbooks boast a gourmet gratin version, inclusive of mushroom sauce and Parmigiano. In the entroterra the panissa is firmer, and sometimes is made with different sorts of legume flours: the Valle Arroscia (IM) opts for pea-flour, and the panissa is eaten with curd cheese or with a dressing of oil, vinegar, onions and garlic. Panissa is often mistaken with paniccia, a Piedmontese risotto prepared with beans and black cabbage. Both panissa and paniccia derive their names from panicum, a cereal used during the most ancient of times. Wine matching: white, DOC Golfo del Tigullio Bianchetta (though some go for sparkling wines).






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