Panissa, a dish made from … PANIC!

Panissa is a typical, Ligurian dish which for many decades it was a food of the lower classes. What is more, until the ’70s it represented the typical fast lunch of workers, dockers and students.


We don’t know the origin of its name. However, in the XIII century, a local writer Bonvesin de la Riva wrote about a dish called “panicum”. Its name came from “panic”, a cereal that was very common among the humblest strata of the population in that period. Even if, after the ages, the cereal is not used any more, the name has remained πŸ™‚


  • actually the English name of panico is foxtail millet … the name that is much less dramatic πŸ™‚
  • the Italian word “panico” infact comes from “pannocchia” that means “cob”. In fact, panico has cob form.


It can be eaten hot, sliced, seasoned with a little bit of olive oil, salted, peppered. Accompanied by raw spring onions or salad. Or it can be fried … it is deliciously fried! In Savona, the fried slices are served well sprinkled with salt inside the “fugassette”, a sort of half-baked Arabian bread.


280 g of chickpea flour,

1 l of water,

2 lemons,

olive oil,

10 g of salt,


Boil the water. Then gradually pour the chickpea flour, stirring slowly for about an hour on a low heat and making sure that no lumps are created. At the end of cooking add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, a little bit of olive oil. The panissa is ready when starts detaching from the sides of the pan. At this point pour it in a bowl and serve it with pepper, vinegar, fresh onions and rosemary. Or you can leave it to become cool until it has become firm. Then you can cut it into the thin slices and fry them in the boiling oil until they have become crunchy.

You will love it!


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