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.

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