Panelle are fried chickpea fritters that hail from the streets of Sicily, most notably, Palermo. They’re usually placed between two pieces of bread, which is commonly referred to as a “sandwich.” Yep, another sandwich here on BeerFoodLove. Embrace it because they’re glorious. Luckily, you don’t have to travel all the way to Sicily (though you should because it’s awesome) to have one of these bad boys. Pane Panelle in Tribeca serves up one of the most highly regarded sandwiches in all of NYC. It’s been voted one of the best by Grub Street and is frequently discussed on Serious Eats.
Their eponymous sandwich, the pane e panelle, is made of the chickpea fritters, ricotta, and caciocavallo cheese. While this sounded delicious, and it is their most well-known, I decided to go with the melanzane e panelle. As the name implies, it comes with eggplant, panelle, and pecorino cheese on a small round roll. Let me tell you, it is a small sandwich and at $9 comes with a hefty price tag. I’m not saying it’s not worth trying, because it is, but if you’re starving this is not the sandwich you want to eat. The chickpea fritters are fairly filling and the eggplant helps to give it a bit more bulk but this won’t be filling you up.
I have to say, the sandwich itself is ridiculously tasty. The chickpeas are fried to perfection – light, not greasy, full of flavor. The eggplant is equally as good and the pecorino gives it a salty kick. The bread is wonderous. Not at all tough but doesn’t fall apart. It matches the ingredients perfectly. Really a well-balanced sandwich. Each sandwich comes with a side of their caponata. It’s a nice addition to the meal, though after eating the eggplant in the sandwich I didn’t really want much more of it. You can only eat so much eggplant, you know?