A local street food of Italy, in the Liguria Region, Farinata is definitely a comfort food that feeds your soul too. It is thicker than a crepe, thinner than a pancake, more like a thin crust pizza base & can be eaten like a pizza – plain, stuffed or topped. Very similar to the Indian Lentil Crepes like Chillas & Adais, Farinata is a GLUTEN FREE delight, made of chickpea flour.
“Farinata is a type of baked Italian pancake, or more accurately a flatbread, since pancakes tend to be sweet and farinata is a savory food. Generally, farinata is considered a street food, and it is closely related to pizza, often served with pizza toppings or used to wrap pizza-like ingredients. When traveling in Mediterranean regions of Italy, farinata is often offered as street food. It can also be made at home.
The origins of farinata can be found in Liguria, in Northwestern Italy. It is also sometimes called calentita, or panissa when it is fried, especially in Gibraltar, a region of Europe which has been heavily influenced by Italian cooking. Farinata is usually viewed as a snack food, with street vendors making single large pieces of the flatbread and cutting pieces off as requested by customers.” (Source)
Well, this recipe did not go as planned. I had everything at hand, ready to bake the farinata in the oven & my oven stopped working! I had used the oven the day before, & it did not give me any warning. I just had to go about making this without the oven. I did it on the stove top. It did not turn out to be much different.
If you want the preparation of the Farinata in the oven, I have it here. Today I’ll only write the stove top method. Coming to think about it, I was pretty happy I did it – it took less time, cooked pretty well, nice golden crispy & now I know another way to do it.
Farinata with Grilled Vegetables
- 3/4 cup chick pea flour/besan/garbanzo flour
- 1.5 cups of tepid water (more or less; the batter will be more like a thick soup consistency)
- 1 tablespoons of olive oil to mix with chick pea batter
- 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil for the skillet
- Freshly & Roughly crushed Black peppercorns
- Herbs like Rosemary
- Well seasoned cast iron skillet (feel free to use any skillet. I prefer to cook in the iron skillet as it retains heat much better & cooks uniformly than any others I have used)
For the Topping:
An Assortment of Vegetables to be grilled for the topping; I have used all summer vegetables here -
- Bell peppers (Capsicum) – Red & Green
- Eggplant (brinjal/aubergine)
- Sweet Onions
Note: Use vegetables as per your preference.
Grill all the vegetables; Cool, Peel & chop/slice & set aside. (I grilled them on the stove top grill pan.)
Mix the water and the flour with a whisk, making sure there are no lumps, add salt and mix again. It should have the consistency of a crepe batter. Let it sit for atleast 4 hours (Or even better overnight. I did it for about 4 hours).
Coat the skillet with 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil & heat till almost smoking hot – a drop of water on the skillet should make it sizzle!
Make sure here before you pour the batter that the pan should be at level; if not the farinata will be thicker on one side & thinner on the other.
Skim off the surface foam from the batter. Whisk in the Freshly Ground Black Pepper & herb with the batter. Pour the batter in the hot skillet & turn it around for it to spread evenly. (mind it the skillet is HOT). Cook for about 2 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium & Cover the skillet & cook for about another 3-4 minutes or till the top of the farinata seems dry & you will notice tiny bubble like holes on the top. Do a toothpick test. It should come out fairly clean. The sides should start to crisp & brown by this time.
With a spatula, try to lift one side. If you see that the underneath is golden yellow & with brown spots, Carefully loosen the sides & the underneath & flip it over; make sure not to break the farinata. (If you find it difficult to lift it, cook for some more time at a higher heat).
Top the farinata base with the grilled vegetables you had set aside earlier. Increase the heat of the stove till the bottom & of the base is crispy golden/light brown.
Once done, take it off the heat. Serve warm while still crispy.
Slice it; Garnish with more freshly ground black pepper.
& serve just by itself, or topped with Marinated Feta Cheese, like I did on my share.
Now would you feel guilty indulging in this colorful summer treat? I would not. We all love Farinatas! A Gluten free, veggie loaded is snack always sings to our soul & fulfills it too. Sending this to HOTM, hosted by dear Ilva of Lucullian Delight. The theme this month is June’s Best Produce. I have all the wonderful vegetables here that the pretty summer has been offering us.
For a party, it is a great idea to serve slices of farinata, with an assortment of topping. Allow the guests to pick & choose their own topping on their slices. Use any topping you would use on a bruschetta or a pizza; fresh tomatoes, grilled veggies, cheese, chutney are a few of them.