An autumnal Sicilian unfold in 4 dishes | Ben Tish

Starter: panelle, sea salt and salsa verde (above)

Prep 5 min
Cook dinner 1 hr, together with cooling time
Serves Four-6

600ml water
Sea salt and pepper
250g chickpea (aka gram) flour
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 tbsp fennel seeds, frivolously crushed

For the salsa verde
½ bunch flat parsley (with stalks)
½ bunch mint
½ bunch chives
½ tbsp capers, drained
2 salted anchovies
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
Juice of ½ lemon
120ml extra-virgin olive oil

First make the sauce. Put the herbs, capers and anchovies in a jug blender, add the vinegar and lemon juice, and begin to mix. With the motor working, add the oil in a gradual, regular stream till it’s all integrated and you’re left with a thick, inexperienced, rustic sauce. Season to style and put aside.

For the panelle, pour the measured water right into a saucepan, deliver to a boil and season generously. Vigorously whisk within the chickpea flour, and maintain whisking till it types a thick, clean paste that comes away from the perimeters of the pan. Verify the seasoning, then flip off the warmth.

Calmly oil a baking tray (or a kitchen counter), pour the batter on prime and clean out till the combo is about 2cm thick, then depart to chill utterly.

In a deep-sided pan, warmth the frying oil to 180C – take a look at by dropping in a bit of bread: it ought to fizzle and switch brown nearly instantly. Reduce the panelle into rustic strips or triangles, then deep-fry in two or three batches till golden brown, frivolously puffed and crisp – about two to a few minutes a batch. Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with the fennel seeds and a few sea salt, and serve without delay with the salsa verde for dipping. (Or go full Sicilian by stuffing the fritters in a bread roll and dousing them in lemon juice.)

Fundamental: pumpkin and chickpea stew

Ben Tish’s essential course of pumpkin and chickpea stew.

It is a nice technique to prepare dinner pumpkin; its pure sweetness and texture work brilliantly as a stew base, and the raisins, cinnamon, olives and coriander give it a particular, sweet-sour, Moorish slant. In western Sicily this is able to be served alongside a bowl of ‘cuscus’.

Prep 10 min
Cook dinner 1 hr 30 min
Serves Four, generously

½ small pumpkin (about 1.2kg), iron bark or delica, ideally
Olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
½ bunch coriander
40g raisins
1 tsp floor cinnamon
½ tsp floor chilli flakes
500ml vegetable inventory
75g inexperienced olives
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g tin chickpeas

Warmth the oven to 210C (190C fan)/410F/fuel 6½. Peel the pumpkin, then chop the flesh into 3cm items; reserve the seeds. Toss the pumpkin in olive oil to coat, then season frivolously, unfold out on an oven tray and roast for 35-40 minutes, till golden and caramelised.

In the meantime, put the onions and a glug of oil in a medium casserole dish over a low warmth. Finely chop the coriander stalks and add to the pan with the raisins and many of the cinnamon and chilli flakes (maintain a bit of each to garnish). Cowl and prepare dinner for 20 minutes, stirring often; add splashes of inventory as want be, so it doesn’t dry out.

When the pumpkin is completed, stir all of it into the casserole, taking care to not crush the pumpkin – it seems to be higher when it retains its form. Bash the olives to separate them, take away and discard the stones and add to the pan with the tomatoes and chickpeas – juice and all. Add the remainder of the inventory, flip up the warmth to medium and depart to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring often, till wealthy and thick.

In the meantime, toss the reserved pumpkin seeds with the remaining cinnamon and chilli flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Unfold out in the identical roasting tray and roast for round 10 minutes, or till golden and crisp.

Ladle the stew into shallow bowls, scatter with a couple of spiced pumpkin seeds and serve.

Facet: sauteed turnip tops, chilli, garlic and lemon

A side dish of sauteed turnip tops, chilli, garlic and lemon.

Ben Tish’s basic southern Italian facet dish of sauteed turnip tops, chilli, garlic and lemon.

Turnip tops are a ubiquitous inexperienced vegetable throughout southern Italy, and they’re slowly gaining popularity over right here. I really like their earthy, bitter, metallic flavour. Sauteeing is definitely one of the best ways to prepare dinner them.

Prep 10 min
Cook dinner 10 min
Serves Four

500g turnip tops, stalk ends trimmed
Further-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
1 massive crimson chilli, pith and seeds eliminated, finely sliced
Sea salt and pepper
Grated zest and juice of ½ unwaxed lemon

Reduce the turnip tops in half widthways. Put a big saute pan on a medium warmth and add a very good glug of oil. Add the garlic and chilli, and prepare dinner, stirring, till softened and the garlic is simply beginning to tackle some color. Throw within the turnip tops, season generously and stir quickly till they wilt, stirring the entire time to forestall the leaves from catching and browning. Flip off the warmth, sprinkle over the lemon zest and juice, and serve instantly.

Pudding: plum and pistachio cake with rose water mascarpone

A dessert of plum and pistachio cake with rose water mascarpone.

Ben Tish’s plum and pistachio cake with rose water mascarpone rounds off a meal very properly.

Prep 10 min
Cook dinner 1 hr 40 min
Serves Four

200ml water
370g caster sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
eight plums, halved, stoned and reduce into 1cm items
150g plain flour, plus further for dusting
160g inexperienced Iranian pistachios, plus further for adorning
90g semolina
2 heaped tsp baking powder
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus further for greasing
three eggs
130g thick Greek-style yoghurt

To serve
100g mascarpone
Just a few drops rosewater
30g icing sugar

Put the water, 215g sugar and the lemon juice in a saucepan on a medium warmth, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Flip up the warmth, deliver to a boil, then scale back to a simmer and add the chopped plums. Simmer for 3 minutes, till the syrup thickens and the plums soften (however don’t break down), then flip off the warmth and depart to chill.

Warmth the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/fuel 6. Grease a spherical nonstick 20cm cake tin with butter, then mud with flour and faucet out any extra. Finely grind the nuts in a meals processor. Sift the flour, semolina and baking powder right into a bowl, then stir within the floor nuts. Utilizing an electrical mixer, beat the butter and remaining 155g sugar in a bowl till pale and creamy. Add the eggs one after the other, beating in every one nicely earlier than including the subsequent. Stir within the flour combination, then stir within the yoghurt to mix.

Spoon the combination into the ready cake tin and faucet the tin on a worktop to clean the highest. Bake for 50 minutes, or till a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clear.

Use the skewer to pierce holes everywhere in the prime of the cake, pour over the plums and their syrup, and depart to chill. In the meantime, whisk the mascarpone, rose water and icing sugar. Switch the cake to a platter, sprinkle with chopped pistachios and serve with the mascarpone on the facet.

Ben Tish is chef/patron of Norma, London W1. His newest ebook, Moorish, is revealed by Bloomsbury at £26. To order a replica for £22.18, go to