Fabulous Farinata

Fabulous Farinata

Farinata: a savoury Italian delight

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.

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Farinata

farinata

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.

The Summary:

  • 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
The Steps:
  • 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.
The Variations:
  • 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.
R☆51
Comments
  • Nice, I was not aware of this Italian concept. I love the browned crisp look to it. I am a crispy edge girl!

  • …and the good news is that you can use a larger dish to make a thinner, crispier version if that’s your thing – the possibilities are endless!

  • so easy! i must try this!

  • Thanks for the follow on Foodbuzz. I’m just reading over your blog and love it! I, too, have recently become interested in gluten-free flours. This dish sounds so great!

  • If you add freshly ground black pepper to this batter it really takes this dish over the edge. Do it next time!

  • Farinata is a dish I learned to love during a visit to Italy last fall. I’ve made it myself several times and loved it, but it’s never looked this **pretty** :-) We eat ours with pesto as the only accompaniment and it tastes wonderful!

  • This looks really interesting. I’d love to serve it as a side dish sometime. We never ate this in our family growing up, but chickpea flour would have been a little hard to come by where we were.

  • I can imagine the olive oil is the real star here? It sounds sounds homey and good!

  • Thats probably the most beautiful, appetizing food picture ive seen! Looks so golden and mouthwatering. A friend and I were talking about farinata just last week; we saw it on PBS. Ive only used gram flour in Indian food and I’m looking forward to trying this recipe! great blog!

  • Thanks for teaching us all about farinata. It looks heavenly!

  • This recipe is right up my alley.
    I love anything simple and Italian like this.
    I will try it with the fresh rosemary addition.
    Not sure where to find chick pea flour, but will find it!
    Stacey Snacks

  • I do hope you find the chickpea flour (Asian food markets or healthfood stores might be a good bet) – I’m sure you’ll love the results!

  • what a delicious looking picture! i’ve never made farinata before and had no idea it was so simple. just bought some chickpea flour from my local indian grocer too :) perfect! thanks for the recipe

  • Yes, it really is that simple – enjoy!

  • This looks great – do you think it would work with pureed chickpeas or beans too?

    x x x

  • Hmm – I suspect this wouldn’t work in the same way with pureed chickpeas as you’d end up with something like a very thin hummus and that’s not really what the flour-based batter is like. Not that it mightn’t still be tasty of course, but it would have quite a different taste. If you can get the chickpea flour (also called gram or besan), it’s worth a try!

  • I’ve seen Farinata before but never bought it. This dish looks so warm and satisfying! I might have to give it a go!

  • This looks fantastic; we just returned from our honeymoon in Italy last month, and farinata was a speciality of the Cinque Terre region. We had our fair share, and this sounds like a good recipe to try. :)

  • Ah, Cinque Terre – I’m jealous :) – it’s a lovely little corner of the world!

  • [...] are numerous more or less detailed recipes for farinata around the internet, but I mostly relied on the one from The Daily Spud, who got it from a book by Elizabeth David. I added fresh rosemary and garlic [...]

  • Hey this is a great dish. In India we call it “Dhokla”. Great to find similarities in dishes from different countries. You can use the same batter to make pancakes also.

  • This is very intriguing. I have never heard of it but it sounds tasty. Thanks for sharing it!!

  • Sam: It is indeed interesting how different countries can arrive at similar dishes, probably by very different routes; I imagine it would make tasty pancakes too – sounds like a great idea :)

    Chef Bliss: You’re welcome! It is indeed very tasty :)

  • I’ve just discovered farinata. I love it. I add aubergines, courgettes and onions; delicious.

  • I live in Nice and we have a version of this called Socca. It’s a thinner version of farinata but just as delicious. We often shop in Italy and frozen farinata are available too so I suppose if you made a batch you could some freeze and reheat later.

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