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Farinata - Ligurian Chickpea Pancake

  • n

I made this recipe from Bittman's "The Best Recipes in the World" over the weekend and I'm now addicted. I've got the batter already mixed for the third one in four days. It's a delicious and healthy substitute for bread or starch in a meal. Here's a paraphrase of the recipe with some of my notes.

1 cup chickpea flour
1 3/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for sauteing and finishing
1/2 smll yellow onion, thinly sliced, optional
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme (Bittman suggests rosemary), optional
Freshly ground black pepper

Whisk chickpea flour and water together. Whisk in salt and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Cover and set aside at room temperature for at least 1 and as long as 12 hours, the longer the better.

Heat oven to 400F.

If using, saute onion in olive oil until soft and translucent but not brown. Just before finishing, stir in herbs to cook for a few moments. Add onions to batter.

Heat a few teaspoons of olive oil in a 12" ovenproof nonstick skillet* over medium high heat. When hot, add the batter. Transfer to oven and cook for about 20-30 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a knife in the center, if it comes out clean it's done. If the top has not already browned, place under broiler for 1-2 minutes until well browned.

Remove from oven and let cool for a minute. Carefully transfer farinata from skillet to a cutting board. Cut into wedges, drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil, and top with a rediculous and obscene amount of freshly and coarsely ground black pepper. Serve warm.

*Bittmans suggests "a well-seasoned or nonstick 12-inch pizza pan or skillet." I tried this in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, heating the oil until smoking hot before adding the batter (a technique that allows even supersticky egg dishes like frittata and tortilla espanola to pop right out), yet it stuck pretty bad. I now use my teflon skillet.

-Nick

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  1. f
    farmersdaughter

    Thanks Nick -- I've been meaning to try that one ever since it was in the NY Times food section a while back. Special thanks for your recommendation to use Teflon.

    Did you use Indian chickpea flour or Italian? In a recipe for a Sicilian chickpea fritter, Mario Batali says specifically NOT to use Indian chickpea flour but doesn't say why, so I'd be interested to know your view.

    As a P.S., I know you are in the Bay Area so would also be interested to know where you got the flour.

    4 Replies
    1. re: farmersdaughter

      I got mine in bulk at Rainbow Co-op in SF. It wasn't labelled as either Indian or Italian, but given its pale color and the article below, I'm pretty certain that it's the Italian one.

      Link: http://www.kurma.net/faq/Ask46.html

      1. re: nja

        Yeah, you're right. Gram flour (chana dal) is made from a member of the garbanzo family but not chick peas. I've made socca with gram flour with success. I think the Italian would be called "ceci" (garb in Ital) flour or farina. Gram flour I buy at Milan Market in Berkeley (or Berkeley Bowl) is pretty light in color, too.

        What was the difference in the farinata made with the wrong flour?

        1. re: nja

          A tangent (oh, NO.....):

          has anyone here made papadams? Is this Indian chickpea flour the dal used, or is it a dal of the lentil genus? I'd love to make my own; papadams are unavailable where I live.

          tj

          1. re: toodie jane

            toodie jane...no one really makes papad (papadams) in India ...except may be in some rural areas in the the north. it is much much easier to buy. and yes...they are made with white lentils (urad dal) and not chickpea flour. however, if you are really interested in making them, here is the link
            http://www.aayisrecipes.com/2008/06/0...

      2. a
        A Fish Called Wanda

        Thank you so much for this recipe! I got hopelessly addicted to farinata on our trip to Italy, but haven't seen recipes for it in US. I'll have to give this a try.

        Link: http://www.beyondsalmon.com

        1. Thanks for reporting. That recipe has been stuck to my refrigerator with a magnet for weeks now every since I saw it in The Times. I keep looking at it and wanting to make it, but since it involves a special shopping trip for the flour, I keep putting it off. You've renewed my resolve with your great report so I'll be making it soon.

          3 Replies
          1. re: veebee

            I think everybody should have gram flour (chickpea) flour on hand. It can be used for things other than socca or farinata, such as pakora or other kinds of fritters... made into a batter (with spices) and mixed with veggies such as onions, eggplant, broc, potatoes, etc. then fried. These are glorious with a dip of yoghurt mixed with chopped cuke, cinlantro, mint and garlic...and tomatoes when in season.

            1. re: oakjoan

              You've made me very hungry. How long does it last? I had some once for an Indian bread recipe and then never used it and didn't freeze it as I should have and then ended up throwing it away during a major pantry purging because it just seemed too old to use.

              1. re: veebee

                Chana dal or gram flour lasts for quite a while - I've had mine for at least 6 months..stored in glass container in dark cupboard.

          2. Thanks for pointing this one out - I didn't know where to start with that book.

            Now we've made this twice.
            Last night I made it in a smallish jelly roll pan, with a bunch of variations.
            Fried shallots and herbs in a frying pan, then put it together for the oven.
            I like fresh thyme and shallots best so far.
            Rosemary was too rosemary - I lost the subtlety of the ceci.
            Also did a bit with some chili flakes along with the shallots and thyme - NICE.
            And a little roasted poblano pepper in another square - it was good but . . . we like the plainer ones better.

            Now I'm thinking about frying chicken with ceci flour . . .

            1. Thanks, Nick!

              When Michael & I were on our honeymoon in Italy, one of the most special meals we had was at his family's favorite casual eatery in little village just south of Portofino in Liguria, Italy. It had a big stone oven and they kicked out killer Farinata every few minutes and brought heaps of it to every table.

              When we got back, we had it at Rose Pistola which was good but different from the dish we had in Italy. So next I tried making it at home (my recipe said 500 degees) but my poor 1930s oven just couldn't kick in enough heat.

              Now that I've got a new oven and you've reminded me of this yummy treat - I'll have to have another go at it.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Pssst

                funny about the temperature . . .
                I ended up making farinata at 450-500, because my 1910 Magic Chef is possessed by the devil
                or rather, lacks a temperature control.

                1. re: Pssst

                  How thick did they make them in Liguria? I've been interested in the reports on making them thinner than Bittman's recipe, and I plan to play around with it next time I make some. Just wondering what they were like when you had them.

                  -Nick

                  1. re: Borovinka

                    Regretably, your link does not provide the indicated recipe.

                    1. re: Joebob

                      Try this link http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                      If that doesn't work, just put "farinata" in the search box at the top of the Epicurious homepage and then it's the second recipe listed.

                    2. re: nja

                      Nick,

                      I have tried both the Bittman and Rose Pistola recipe from Gourmet ( http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...). The latter produces a fantastic thin chickpea crepe ( I used raw leeks instead of the fried onions and replaced the sage with fresh thyme, rosemary and dried savory). My husband and I liked it much better than Bittman's thicker ( and creamier/softer ) version.

                      - Marulka
                      www.bgcooks.com