Panelle with grilled Romano peppers, avocado and egg

4
60 minutes

Ingredients

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

Method

1
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
2
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
3
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
4
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)
5
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
6
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
7
Take the trays of panelle and slice each into 8 pieces
8
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
9
Once all the panelle are cooked, crack 4 eggs into the frying pan and fry until they are cooked to your liking
10
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