Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I’ve already told you how great the Street Food section of the Salone del Gusto was. From my last post about it, you’d think all I ate was Focaccia di Recco. But there was one other stand I returned to several times: Farinata di Liguria.
I’d always heard about this chickpea flour, pancake-type thing, but never ate it since I’ve never been to Liguria (sad, but true). I also had never attempted to make it myself, since it just seems like the kind of thing best eaten on the spot, in the street. In fact, it’s sold at special shops and bakeries throughout Liguria. Customers line up, and wait until it comes out of the oven, piping hot. Also, since the best farinata is baked in a wood- burning oven, it makes it hard for most people to whip up their own snack.
But if you do want to try it, I’ve found a recipe for you. It’s not hard at all, and like all good things, has only a handful of simple ingredients. If for some reason you can’t find chickpea flour don’t attempt it. And to answer your question, no Mom, you can’t substitute regular flour. The incredible goodness of Farinata comes from the taste and consistency of the chickpea flour.
2 cups room temperature water
3 cups chickpea flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup olive oil, plus 3 Tablespoons
Place chickpea flour and salt in a bowl, make a well in the center and slowly add the water. Stir vigorously, eliminating all the lumps.
Let sit for four hours. Remove the foam that will have formed on the top with a ladle.
Preheat oven to 500F (250C).
Add the 1/2 cup of olive oil to the chickpea flour mixture and stir.
You can use two 10 inch low pans, or one large 20 inch, if you have it.
Use remaining oil to grease the pan or pans generously. Pour batter in. It should be less than 1/2 inch thick.
Place in hot oven and cook for about 20 minutes. For the last five minutes turn on the broiler, so that the top gets crusty and browed.
Farinata is traditionally eaten hot, right out of the oven. For variety add thinly sliced onions, or lumps of strachino cheese (added during last five minutes).