03 July 2016

Farinata, farinata... (Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?)

Farinata with Fresh Ricotta Cheese and Black Pepper

Ok, so just a little play on words from a song that I think many of us learned as children in our French classes, Frère Jacques or also know in Italian as Fra Martino...  "frère Jacques,  frère Jacques, dormez vous, dormez vous....farinata, farinata....ok ok, so I'm easily amused.

I meant to get this recipe post quite awhile ago as it does require heating up the oven and for some of you that may just not be in the cards for you these days, but alas life happens and blog posts languish. Here in the Alps we are have such a mixture of weather that turning the oven on is still a viable option. So if you plan to have the oven on for something else perhaps with a little planning ahead you might enjoy this subtly flavored chickpea pancake. It's good hot out of the oven and in Piedmont you usually you find it served up  as big rectangular slices or wedges piping hot out of the oven, alongside pizza by the slice. It is usually baked in the oven in copper bottomed pans about 40 cm  or 15 inch round pans, traditionally, but you will also find it cooked in large sheet trays as well, just like focaccia. This culinary treat is native to Liguria and also a popular dish from Provence where it is called Socca. You can find variations in Tuscany and Sardinia as well. I'll let the 2 Mediterranean regions battle it out for which one is the birthplace of this dish.
At home I go for a bit of garnishing with sometimes just black pepper and lime juice squeezed over it once it comes out of the oven, right before serving. I like it with soft cheese slathered across it and maybe some chives or other fresh herbs to taste with a sprinkle of gourmet salt, or a sprinkly if fresh rosemary as well.  It can also be rolled up after smearing it with soft cheese and any other sprinkling of garnishes that strikes your fancy, like finely chopped radish, sun dried tomato bits, olive slices, capers, roasted peppers and on and on.  Fill and roll it up like a jelly roll and cut it into to swirled slices for finger food or stuzzichini. You may need to hold it together with some toothpicks to keep them from unravelling and easy serving as well.  Have at it and give it a whirl. It is delicately flavored, but for those of you, like me, that just can't get enough of that mysteriously subtle chickpea flavor, this is one to try.
 I hope you enjoy it.
Preparing the batter and pan for baking

 For the best results give the batter a long resting period for the chickpea flour enough time to absorb and soften, at least 2 hours and some recipes call for 8 hours. Mix it up in the morning or the evening to cook later on.
Farinata Wedge

Farinata al Rosmarino

Serves: 6 people

I have a large 12 "heavy pan with a removable handle that I use to bake this in to two different batches. Cast iron skillets work well also. I have used sheet pans, but it didn't work quite as well, but I might not have gotten the pans quite hot enough either, which is key to success. Hot preheated pans, then pour in the oil before pouring the batter in. This is the one of the main keys to success. 
This recipe easily halves and is good for just 2 people. 


300g chickpea flour (10.5 oz)   (150g/ 5.25 oz for a half batch)
1 liter water, tepid (1 quart with a little splash more) (1/2 liter or quart half batch)
1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground 
1 T salt (1/2 T half batch)
110ml extra virgin olive oil (3.75 oz/ 7.5 T) (55ml / 1.8 oz /3.75T half batch)
2 sprigs or so of fresh rosemary leaves removed from stalks


I like to use my immersion wand blender, but a whisk works just fine as well.
I will put the water in a tall narrow container like or a large bowl. 
Gently pour in the chickpea flour, whisking to avoid lumps. 
Add the pepper and salt, stir, and allow to sit in a warm place for at least two hours and up to 8 hours. the soaking time 

Preheat the oven to 230*C / 450*F 
Remove the foam from the top of the batter and stir in 110ml olive oil. 
Pour a further tablespoon of the oil into the farinata pan or frying pan and put into the oven until the oil is just smoking. 
Quickly remove the pan and pour in 1/2 of the chickpea batter. (I do this in 2 batches for best results in my pans you might have 3 batches with a cast iron skillet) 
The farinata should be thin – no more than 2cm deep. (If you make the full batch at one time, it will be thick and will need to cook longer, which is fine, totally up to your taste)
Sprinkle the rosemary leaves over the top and return to the oven. 
Bake for about 10 minutes until the top is brown and crisp and the middle is still slightly soft.

Remove from your pan if it is a no stick pan before cutting into to wedges and garnishing.
Serve warm with whatever toppings suit you.
Buon appetitto!

My happy husband Fabrizio getting ready to dig in

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