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. Joanne says

    Why have I never made this before? Or heard of it?I do have a bag of chickpea flour sitting here…I'm actually drooling over this.

  2. says

    This sounds so delicious, Reeni! I think it would be great with a curry or even just paired with some fresh sliced veggies straight from the garden for a light summer meal!

  3. Cocina Savant says

    it looks incredible! i've wanted to experiement using chickpea flour, and this seems like a great dish to look into first. gorgeous pictures :)

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