From Italian & French Cuisines, a Delicious Pie made of Chickpea Flower
|Serving size: 100g|
|Calories from Fat||0|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
A Long Tradition Dish
"Farinata" is a very simple dish: it is a sort of very thin pie whose ingredients are water, olive oil and chickpea flour. It is mainly popular in Liguria (an Italian region, in which this dish originated), Tuscany (another Italian region, in which is known with the name cecina) and some places in France (like Nice), in which is known with the name socca. It is usually cooked in wood oven and in some regions of Italy can also be found in various pizzerias, especially the ones who cook their pizzas in wood ovens.
This dish has a very long-tradition: it is a typical dish of Genoa, and a popular legend says that this dish has been realized during naval battles between Genoa and Pisa in the Middle Age. So Liguria is the Italian region where farinata is mostly known, even if this dish rapidly became popular also in other places.
Farinata is usually cooked by adding some water and salt to chickpea flour, in order to get a mixture. After that, this mixture is put into a pan greased with olive oil, rolled out and baked. Sometimes this dish is enriched with other ingredients, for example a popular alternative to the classical "farinata" is the one with onions.
There are various dishes that look similar to farinata and are made with the same ingredients. Always in Liguria, you can find some typical pancakes made of chickpea flour (in general, they are made with the same ingredients of farinata). These pancakes are called panissa (they are different from the panissa made in Piemonte, another Italian region, as this panissa is a risotto with vegetables and pork lard).
In Morocco a dish similar to farinata is popular: it is called caliente and it has the same ingredients of farinata, with eggs in addition.
In Argentine you can find the same (or sometimes with some little variations) farinata you can find in Italian cuisine, even if it is eaten in different ways: you still can find it in pizzerias, but it is usually eaten over the pizza.
As said before, the same farinata may be little variated, and the just mentioned version with onions is very popular as well as the classical one. But there are also various other alternatives, for example there is the so called "farinata bianca" (or "white farinata"), which is the same farinata recipe, but made with wheat flour. Or you can find also other variations of the farinata made with chickpea flour, so in addition to the farinata with onions, you can also find other toppings, like bacon (I have never tried it, also because I tend to vegetarianism, I eat meat very rarely and one day probably I'll completely stop, but I saw it in a pizzeria), or also farinata with tomato, or even farinata with basil pesto sauce and stracchino cheese (these variations are probably less frequent, for me I sometimes eat the cheese pie (the Italian "focaccia al formaggio") with basil pesto and stracchino cheese (and also the classical one, without basil pesto), but have never eaten the farinata topped like this.
Farinata's Cooking Tools
As said before farinata is traditionally cooked in wood fired ovens, and also some Italian pizzerias who cook their pizzas in wood ovens also cook farinata in the same ovens. However in some shops or pizzerias, or if you don't have a wood oven, farinata may be also cooked in electric ovens, even if you get the maximum result from a fired oven when we talk about pizzas, farinata and related Italian recipes. In order to cook farinata, it is usually used a copper pan, or you can also prepare your farinata by using a chauldron.
Making Farinata at Home
You can try to make farinata at home if you want, and even if it not easy to get a farinata similar to the one you'll try in some Italian pizzerias with a home oven, you will sure like the result and appreciate how it tastes.
- Chickpea Flour
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Add chickpea flour in a bowl, and then gradually add water and mix, in order to get a liquid mixture.
- Leave the mixture here for about 3 hours (time is variable, some people leave the mixture only half a hour, other even an entire night). If you find foam, remove it.
- Start to mix another time and, in the meantime, add salt and oil, and continue to mix.
- Add oil to a baking tin and distribute the mixture over the tin. If you have more mixture, you can prepare multiple baking tins. Cook at the maximum temperature you can reach with the home oven. In wood ovens of pizzerias often higher temperatures are reached, but you can obtain also a good result at home, but you will need to reach the maximum temperature (depending on the type of oven, but from 250° to 300° would be good). Cook for around 10 minutes, then check if it is ready.
© 2015 Alessio Ganci