Panelle with grilled Romano peppers, avocado and egg

60 minutes


For the panelle

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil, plus extra for frying
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed in a pestle and mortar
  • 1 pinch of chilli flakes
  • 750ml of water
  • 250g of gram flour, sifted
  • salt
  • black pepper

To serve

  • 3 romano peppers, sliced in half lengthways and deseeded, then cut in half crossways
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 avocados, large and ripe
  • 1 handful of basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • olive oil, for shallow frying


Set a heavy-based pan over a medium heat and add the oil, garlic, fennel and chilli flakes. Fry for a minute or so, then pour in the water and turn up the heat so it comes to a steady boil
Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and slowly pour in the sifted gram flour, whisking constantly so it forms a smooth paste. Stir constantly for a few minutes until the batter thickens and starts to come away from the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat and season well with salt and pepper
Take 2x30cm (12 inch) square baking trays and line each with a sheet of clingfilm. Divide the batter between the trays and spread it out as best you can
Top each with another sheet of clingfilm and press onto the surface, smoothing and flattening it with your hands so it forms a thin, even layer around 5mm (¼ inch) thick. Set aside to cool, then transfer to the fridge to chill completely (at least a few hours or overnight)
When you are ready to cook, fire up the barbecue ready for direct grilling or set a griddle pan on the hob to heat up. Brush the Romano peppers lightly with a little oil and set on the grill or griddle. Cook for around 10–15 minutes, turning them over a couple of times, until they are soft and charred in places
While the peppers are grilling, halve the avocados and scoop out the flesh. Dice into 1–2cm (½–¾ inch) pieces, putting them into a bowl as you go. Add most of the basil (reserving a little to garnish), drizzle in the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Stir to mix, roughly crushing the avocado as you go. Set a heavy-based frying pan on the hob or barbecue. Add about 3–5mm (1/8–¼ inch) of oil and leave to heat up until shimmering hot
Take the trays of panelle and slice each into 8 pieces
Once the oil is hot, fry the pieces of panelle in batches for about 2–3 minutes each side, until crisp and golden; transfer them to a plate lined with kitchen paper as you go. Cover with a few more sheets of kitchen paper to keep the panelle warm while you cook the others
Once all the panelle are cooked, crack 4 eggs into the frying pan and fry until they are cooked to your liking
To serve, build a stack on each of 4 warmed plates, alternating layers of panelle with avocado and pepper and finishing with a fried egg. Scatter over a little of the reserved basil and add a final drizzle of balsamic. Eat immediately