Farinata – sometimes known in English as a chickpea pancake or chickpea flatbread – originates from the Liguria region of Italy. I’ve visited the area countless times owing to the fact that my family live there. However, this year was the first time I’d travelled the region extensively.
From town to town, in the provinces of Genoa and La Spezia, a humble dish appeared on countless menus: farinata. The children loved it so I decided to give it a try at home.
Farinata is fantastically simple (just four ingredients including water!) so the kids can help with the cooking. It’s great as a snack or accompaniment to your aperitivo 😀 and makes a brilliant low carb, gluten-free side, substituting bread or potatoes.
Chickpea flour also known as garbanzo bean flour, gram flour and besan flour is the key ingredient. It is low carb and light on calories; high in protein and fibre, and gluten-free.
I initially thought the chickpea flour from Veggy Duck seemed expensive at £6.49 a kg. However, 150g makes two farinatas, so a little goes a long way. I’m yet to experiment with gram flour from the world food aisle, but this could be a cheaper option.
Ingredients for farinata
- 150g of chickpea flour
- 350ml of water
- 50ml of olive oil, plus extra for cooking
- Two sprigs (or to taste) of rosemary chopped *
- Salt and pepper
Method for making farinata
1. Whisk together the chickpea flour, water and oil then cover and leave to rest. This should be for at least an hour, but I leave the batter overnight in the fridge.
2. Remove from fridge and add the salt, pepper and rosemary (I like to use a combination of table salt and slat flakes). Give a good whisk again as the flour will have sunk to the bottom.
3. Preheat the grill and then heat an ovenproof skillet/frying pan on the hob over a medium heat with a splash of oil
4. Pour in half of the mixture (it should be a bit thicker than a regular pancake) and swirl it around so that it’s evenly dispersed and reaches the edges of the pan
5. After about two minutes, move the pan to the grill. Leave under until the farinata turns golden on top and the edges begin to brown and come away from the pan sides.
6. Serve straight away
* Note on the rosemary – When I haven’t got fresh available I buy a packet from the supermarket and store in the freezer. I add it to the batter straight from frozen.