To be honest, I’d never heard of farinata before this week. But I was interested in seeing what recipes might be out there for chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour other than falafel or as a thickening agent for black bean veggie burgers. Through the magic of the internet, voilà!, farinata popped up as one of the first items.
Farinata is a kind of flatbread made in the Liguria region of Italy (the upper northwest coast). It’s very simple, with only six ingredients (five if you exclude the fresh rosemary). It’s also simple to make, though ideally you’ll plan in advance for it since there’s a two-hour minimum recommended resting period while the flour fully hydrates in water. Otherwise, it’s simply a matter of making sure not to overbake the bread. It’s also veggie, vegan, and gluten-free. Let’s go!
Assemble the six ingredients: one cup of chickpea flour (3 3/8 ounces or 100 grams); 1 1/3 cups of water (10 1/8 ounces or 300 grams); about 1/4 cup olive oil (not shown); 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, roughly chopped; 1 teaspoon sea salt; coarsely ground pepper to taste.
With a whisk, blend together the chickpea flour and the water.
Let this rest for about two hours so that the water fully infuses into the flour. When ready to start baking, preheat the oven to 475 degrees, Fahrenheit. Once the oven has reached that temperature, place a 10-inch cast iron skillet OR a 9 or 10-inch square pan inside the oven to heat. (Normally farinata is made in the round but I didn’t have a cast iron skillet so used a square pan. It still works!)
Now, skim the foam from the top of the flour mixture.
Stir in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the sea salt, and a dusting of ground pepper. Remove the pan from the oven and pour the rest of the olive oil into it. Then add the flour mixture. The oil will pool up on top of the flour. This is okay!
Sprinkle the rosemary on top. (I used 1 tablespoon but would probably use 2 tablespoons next time for more flavor.)
Pop in the oven at the second highest rack position. Bake for 15 minutes, or just until the edges start to brown. Then switch the oven to broil. You’ll need to be very careful at this point not/not to overbake the farinata. Broil it only until the top starts to turn a light golden brown, then remove immediately. (This will take less than 5 minutes.)
Let the farinata cool a few minutes, then cut and serve warm. Ideally, it’ll have a nice light crispness around the edges but will be creamy in the middle. The taste is a nice earthy nuttiness, with the rosemary for added zest.
We served this as our appetizer with a nice rosé from Linden Vineyards. It was hard to stop eating!