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Calentita: Gibraltarian Chickpea Puree

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Calentita, a Gibraltarian Chickpea Puree: Last week's newsletter, dedicated to chick peas, included a recipe for a Ligurian chickpea polenta called panissa that drew an interesting reply from Maria:
"Gibraltar has a large Italian ancestry, mainly Genoese...

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 pound (220 g) chick pea flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

"...Anyway, the Gibraltarian National Dish is "Calentita". This is very much like Farinata only that you use half pound of chick pea flour mixed with six cups of cold water and left to stand. Add salt and pepper.

"Pour a quart of olive oil onto oven dish and heat this in hot oven. When the oil is very hot, carefully add the mix (Carefully because it tends to spit). Cook for about an hour until sides are crisp and centre is set.

"This is taken usually as either a snack or evening meal.

"I would dearly love to know which region this comes from. Like I said typically Gibraltarian, probably Genoese, we also have panissas. So there you are. The world is so small."

Calentita could very well be related to Panissa. In addition to the recipe I gave, fried panissa makes an excellent snack. Simply make panissa, spread it out in a half-inch thick layer on your work surface, cut it into 3-inch squares, and fry them in abundant hot olive oil (you can use other oil if you prefer). Drain well, dust with salt, and they're done.

This technique works equally well with polenta made from corn meal, and the resulting fritters can also work nicely as an accompaniment to a roast or stew, or as antipasti if you spread them with a topping. The Porcino sauce on the Porcino page, for example.

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