Farinata

Farinata is one of the must-try dishes I’ve had in mind for a long time. I saw it for the first time in some French or Italian movie, and was intrigued: I hadn’t realized that chick pea flour was used in traditional Southern European cooking. The southeastern French and the northern Italians apparently both have their own variations of this flatbread, the French one,  socca, being considerably thinner than its relative on the other side of the border. I opted for the Italian type, and was not disappointed – our farinata had a lovely crispy crust on the bottom side as well as over the top, and was soft and flavorful on the inside.

There are numerous more or less detailed recipes for farinata around the internet, but I mostly relied on the one from The Daily Spud, who got it from a book by Elizabeth David. I added fresh rosemary and garlic for additional flavor. We enjoyed the farinata for dinner with oven roasted vegetables, and had the leftovers for a snack on the next day, when we fried our slices on a frying pan to get the crispiness back.

We both think farinata is a bit like polenta, but has much more flavor than any polenta we’ve ever cooked. Not to say polenta couldn’t be as good as this farinata – we just haven’t mastered cooking it right just yet. Some recipes have up to three times more olive oil in a similar amount of batter, but the 3 tablespoons I used was still enough to make the bottom side all shiny and crispy.

Here’s the short list of ingredients:

  • 200 g, or about 4 and 1/2 dl chickpea flour (gram or besan)
  • 6 and 1/2 dl water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (plus some more)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)

The farinata batter needs to rest for four hours before baking, so this recipe requires some planning ahead.

First, I whisked together the water, the olive oil, and the chickpea flour, making sure there were no lumps. The batter is pretty liquid, but it sets perfectly in the oven. I covered the bowl and let the batter rest for 4 hours.

Then I preheated the oven to 200 degrees Celsius, and brushed a round pie tray with olive oil. I mixed the salt, garlic, and rosemary in the batter, and poured it in the baking dish. Now, I baked the farinata for 30 minutes in 200 degrees Celsius, then upped the heat to 225 Celsius and baked for 15 minutes more.

21 Comments

  1. Posted January 21, 2009 at 00:37 | Permalink

    I love anything chickpea so this looks like a winner to me!

  2. Posted January 21, 2009 at 01:11 | Permalink

    So glad you enjoyed the farinata – it really is a great dish!

  3. Posted January 21, 2009 at 02:10 | Permalink

    That just looks so good!

  4. Posted January 21, 2009 at 05:22 | Permalink

    Hooray, something new to do with chickpea flour! I usually make pancakes with cabbage and top it with something, like thick lentil soup or bean puree with garlic. I will have to try this one.

  5. Posted January 21, 2009 at 06:28 | Permalink

    I love how golden brown and crispy these look!

  6. Posted January 21, 2009 at 08:11 | Permalink

    They look good. Ilva at lucillian delights has a recipe for checkpea fritters which uses chick pea flour as well and they are delicious.

    http://lucullian.blogspot.com/2007/02/chickpea-fritters-with-rucola-or.html

    and

    http://lucullian.blogspot.com/2007/06/mediterranean-chick-pea-fritters-with.html

  7. Posted January 21, 2009 at 08:12 | Permalink

    They look good! Very interesting. I love polenta, so I think I’d love these.

  8. Posted January 21, 2009 at 08:48 | Permalink

    This is something I have never even heard of before, but will certainly give it a try as I love anything with chickpeas, and your farinata looks delicious!

  9. Anni
    Posted January 21, 2009 at 10:49 | Permalink

    Thanks for all the sweet comments!

    Emmie – those fritters look amazing, I have a feeling we’ll have to try making them soon… Thanks for sharing the link!

  10. Posted January 21, 2009 at 10:55 | Permalink

    I’m made tons of socca, but never farinata, I kind of thought they were the same thing…thanks for clearing that up! If you ever do try socca, I recommend turning your oven up as high as it will go (mine goes to 250) and only cooking it for 15 minutes…deliciously crispy!

  11. Posted January 21, 2009 at 13:17 | Permalink

    Wow, I have never heard of this, but I want to make it! I’ve been using tons of Besan lately.

  12. Posted January 21, 2009 at 16:18 | Permalink

    Looks great! I didn’t think that chickpea flour was used anywhere except Indian cuisine, so this is a surprise to me as well. Since I love polent and I actually just bought some chickpea flour, I’ll definitely try out your recipe soon!

  13. Posted January 22, 2009 at 05:15 | Permalink

    So simple to make and looks well tasty! I must buy some chickpea flour. I always used to have it but somehow I haven’t bought any for a while.

  14. Posted January 22, 2009 at 07:25 | Permalink

    this looks excellent, and what’s even better is that I have everything i need to make it in the kitchen already. i’ve been wandering what to do with the big bag of chickpea flour i bought ages ago on a whim

  15. Posted January 22, 2009 at 11:21 | Permalink

    This is also one of my must-try dishes! Thank you so much for the recipe.

  16. Posted January 22, 2009 at 12:01 | Permalink

    Nice you likes it. Socca is so difficult to make at home, because it required special ovens. In south east France, we also make “panisses” with chick pea flour. It is like a pudding we cut like chips and fry in oil (or add to a stew). I find this recipe easier to make.

  17. Anni
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 12:16 | Permalink

    Virginie – I didn’t know socca requires a special oven, good to know! We might have to travel to France to try it out then. And to Italy for the best farinata as well, I guess! But until then, this will do quite well!

  18. Posted January 22, 2009 at 12:24 | Permalink

    That sounds so good, and YAY something to do with my big back of chickpea flour besides fronch toast!! :)

  19. T
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 16:53 | Permalink

    That looks so good! I still haven’t tried cooking with chickpea flour, but I’d love to try.

  20. Sarah C.
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 21:40 | Permalink

    In Palermo (not in other places of Sicily, however – it seems to be regional) they make a lovely street food called panelle, which are deep-fried cakes of chickpea flour. Very similar to this. They are served hot and fresh on a soft roll, as a little sandwich. Delicious! I’ll have to try this recipe and hopefully will find a similar yumminess!

  21. Posted March 15, 2011 at 23:14 | Permalink

    I love socca! Will have to try the Italian version soon.

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