So I’ve developed a little obsession with just what is possible with gluten-free flours of late. Happily, this brought to mind a recipe I came across a few years ago in Is There A Nutmeg In The House, a collection of writings by the wonderful Elizabeth David. The recipe was for farinata, an Italian dish made with gram flour (aka chickpea flour) and really very little else (water, salt and olive oil to be precise). The first time I made it, I was a bit sceptical about so few ingredients amounting to much, but it transpired that less, in this case, was most definitely more. The result was a very tasty and versatile little number that you could eat as a snack on its own or use much as you would slices of that other great gluten-free accompaniment, polenta . Of course, it’s got a different texture to polenta and its own distinctive flavour, but it certainly makes for a worthy alternative.
This is the recipe as given by Elizabeth David but adjusted in terms of size and with a reduced amount of salt, which I prefer.
- Makes around 4-6 servings & takes approx. 10 min to prep + 4 hours for the batter to rest + 50 min to bake
You only need:
- 200g gram flour
- 640ml water
- 1 tsp salt
- olive oil, enough to coat the cooking dish
The cooking dish:
- A shallow earthenware dish, about 22.5cm in diameter
- Put the gram flour in a bowl and gradually add the water, stirring all the time.
- When smooth and about the consistency of pancake batter, add the salt.
- Cover and leave for at least 4 hours (or overnight, if that suits).
- Pour some olive oil into the cooking dish, enough to cover the base amply.
- Stir the batter and pour it into the dish, stir it again so that the batter and oil are well incorporated.
- Bake in a hot oven, 220C, for about 50 minutes, until the top is golden and crusty.
- Slice and serve hot as a snack sprinkled with pepper or use as you would slices of polenta, served with roasted vegetables or salads or any number of other ways.
- Strew the top of the mixture with thinly sliced onion or chopped rosemary or fennel seeds just before cooking.
- Bake the cooked farinata with cheese.