Panisses are deep-fried chickpea flour chips, perfect for dunking in tapenade as a Provençal alternative to fries and ketchup. Begin making the panisses in plenty of time, as the batter needs to chill and set before it’s sliced and fried.
Note: you will need to begin this recipe at least 6 hours before you want to eat, or even the day before, to allow time for the panisses to chill.
you will need a 20cm-square shallow baking tin, lined with cling film, pressed well into the corners
Place 1 litre of water and the butter in a saucepan and set over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer, allowing the butter to melt, then quickly sieve in the chickpea flour. Use a whisk to beat vigorously for a couple of minutes as the mixture thickens. Reduce the heat to low, season to taste and allow to cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Scrape into the prepared tin, levelling with a spatula (the mixture should be about 1cm thick), and set aside to cool. Once cool, put the tin in the fridge to chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.
For the tapenade, simply place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to a paste. Taste and add a little more red wine vinegar or black pepper, if desired. Scoop into a bowl and cover with cling film, leaving at room temperature for an hour or two for the flavours to develop; it will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To cook the panisses , turn out the now solid block on to a chopping board and, using a sharp knife, cut into fingers of about 10 x 2cm. Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer to 180°C/350°F and fry in batches for around 5 minutes until deep golden brown and crisp. Drain in a bowl lined with kitchen paper and repeat until they are all cooked.
Serve immediately in a bowl or basket, or tip into a paper cone for the full street experience, with the tapenade dolloped alongside for dipping.