Farinata Genovese: Ligurian Chickpea Pancake/Flatbread

Farinata Genovese: Ligurian Chickpea Pancake

Farinata or Faina is a savory flatbread made from chickpea flour whose origins lie in Liguria, Italy. You may recognize it by another name; it’s twin is the popular French version called Socca. I was introduced to this dish by Gera of Sweet Foods who lives in Uruguay where it is wildly popular.

Farinata is made with a loose batter of highly nutritious chickpea flour, water, olive oil and salt. This version also includes thinly sliced onions and fresh, fragrant rosemary. It is baked in a hot cast iron skillet or pizza pan that renders a golden crispiness to the outside with a soft, tender middle. It is sometimes used like pizza dough and topped with sauce and cheese or vegetables. And I have even heard of it being put right on top of pizza.

For such a simple list of ingredients the flavors are surprisingly rich and complex. I was happily surprised. And I can truly say it is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. I gobbled up half of the pan in a matter of minutes. The taste is almost indescribable because chickpea flour doesn’t exactly taste like chickpeas. Strange but true. It has a unique flavor that no one in my family could identify.

Farinata Genovese: Ligurian Chickpea Pancake

Chickpea or Garbanzo bean flour can be found in the health food section, Italian or Middle Eastern section of your market or in specialty stores. I buy mine at the health food store – the Bob’s Red Mill brand. And while I usually don’t post recipes that require ‘special’ trips to find ingredients this one is well worth it.

This makes a great appetizer straight from the oven warm. Or if you’re like me; dinner. It’s rustic, healthy, and ridiculously simple to make!

Farinata Genovese: Ligurian Chickpea Pancake

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Farinata Genovese
(adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World)

1 cup Chickpea Flour
1 + 3/4 cup Water
3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt or 1/2 teaspoon Table Salt
1 teaspoon, at least, ground Black Pepper
5 tablespoons Olive oil, divided
1/2 large Onion, thinly sliced, optional
1 tablespoon fresh Rosemary, optional.

1. Sift chickpea flour into a bowl; add salt, then slowly add the water, whisking to eliminate lumps. Stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover, and let sit for one hour, or up to 12. The batter will thicken and should be about the consistency of heavy cream.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put a well-seasoned or cast-iron skillet(I used a 10-inch) or 12-inch pizza pan over medium high heat and add 2-3 tablespoons oil into heated pan, swirl to cover pan evenly. When the oil is hot add onion and let it cook for one minute. Pour in batter and sprinkle top with Rosemary.

3. Drizzle a little olive oil over top and bake for 20-40 minutes until it is no longer custardy in the middle and it is firm with the edges set. Turn on broiler and broil top for a minute or two until it takes on a golden brown, spotty color.

4. Allow to set for a few minutes and then carefully remove from pan to a cutting board using two spatulas. Allow to cool briefly. Cut into wedges and season generously with black pepper. Best served warm.

Print Recipe
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Farinata Genovese: Ligurian Chickpea Pancake

I’m linking this to Two for Tuesdays: Celebrate Real Food @ Girlichef Heather’s site.

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Comments

  1. Heather Schmitt-Gonz says

    Oh, this sounds so delicious, Reeni! I've been hearing a lot about chickpea flour lately…I'm going to have to find some! And it seems fairly simple to make, too. I really want to try this! Thanks so much for sharing the love and linking up to Two for Tuesdays this week =)

  2. Sanyukta Gour(Bayes) says

    gorgeous flatbread…drooling pics as always….would love this wonderful flatbread with a cup of tea..we make pancakes with chickpea and cucumber on the stove top but this looks tempting…

  3. Susi's Kochen u says

    This looks incredible! Almost like foccacia. I guess I'm making a special trip to my health food store since I'm intrigued :o)

  4. Megan says

    I tried a chickpea pancake when I went out to dinner (at Oleana in Cambridge, MA) a few weeks ago. It was so good! I'm so glad you posted a recipe for them because I planned to look one up!

  5. Cool Lassi(e) says

    This looks fabulous! And very similar to the Indian Dhokla. I was in the Ligurian Region of Italy last year and I don't know how I missed it.

  6. Lyndsey says

    You're not going to believe this but I bought a bag of that same flour from our heathfood store yesterday for a recipe that Jay posted on Tasty Appetite. It didn't call for that much flour but I bought the whole bag anyway. (sometimes they have different flours in bulk and I can buy just what I need). Anyway I figured I could search for other recipes using chickpea flour…and here you posted this! Wow what luck! I'm going to make it today thanks!

  7. Kim says

    I have been wanting to make this forever! I finally found some chickpea flour last week. Looks delicious Reeni :) I bet it was oustanding.P.S. You should link up to I Heart Cooking Clubs too!

  8. Mo says

    I've wanted to try this for AGES but never got around to it. This looks amazing. :)I buy my chickpea flour from the local Middle Eastern stores. I wish everyone had a store like the one I go to near them, because the bean flours are so expensive at health food stores, from what I've seen!

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