Farinata, Chickpea Flour Snack Pancakes | THE NIBBLE Blog - Adventures In The World Of Fine Food TIP OF THE DAY: Farinata, Chickpea Pancake Snacks – THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food
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TIP OF THE DAY: Farinata, Chickpea Pancake Snacks

Like pizza but not the gluten? Try farinata.

Called by different names around the world, farinata is a thin, unleavened pancake or crêpe made of chickpea flour. Originating in Genoa, it become a popular food on the Ligurian coast, from Nice to Pisa.

It’s not like a conventional, airy European pancake. Without leavening, it’s dense, and enjoyed not for breakfast but as a snack food, served hot.

It is baked in bakeries and pizzerias on tinned copper pans the size of a large pizza pan. Triangular slices are sold and enjoyed as handheld snack, like a slice of pizza. They typically have a light seasoning or pepper and herbs. That’s tasty (think of plain foccaccia); but you Americanize yours with different toppings.
 
 
TRADITIONAL COOKING METHOD

Farinata is made by stirring chickpea flour into a mixture of water and olive oil to form a loose batter. At bakeries and pizzerias, the batter is baked in a wood-burning oven in a tin-plated baking pan. In its simplest form, farinata is seasoned with fresh rosemary, salt and pepper.

You can make farinata in your kitchen oven with skillets, as noted in the recipe below. We didn’t try it with a pizza pan, but we may do that next.
 
 
REGIONAL VARIATIONS

Variations of chickpea pancakes are found the world over. Some examples sourced from Wikipedia:

  • Algeria: Karantita are garnished with cumin and harissa.
  • Argentina and Uruguay: Fainá is often eaten on top of pizza (known as a caballo, on horseback).
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    Pine Nuts & Pepper Farinata

    Zucchini Farinata
    Top: with plenty of pepper, plus pine nuts and red onion at Vegan Lifestyle Associates. Bottom: Topped with zucchini and cut into wedges at AskGeorge.com. In the U.S., chickpea flour (garbanzo flour) is sold in many supermarkets and natural food stores, as well as in Indian and Middle Eastern markets.

  • Genoa: The birthplace of farinata goes for fainâ co i gianchetti, farinata with whitebait. Alternative toppings are onions or artichokes. Fainâ is local dialect. A variation is panissa/paniscia, a thicker batter like polenta. When cut into strips and fried, it is called called panissette.
  • Gibraltar: The pancake is called calentita when baked and panissa when fried. Considered Gibraltar’s national dishes, they are typically eaten without toppings.
  • India: The name varies by region based on the local word for chickpea. The batter of chickpea flour and water is cooked on an oiled skillet. Cabbage, green chiles, onions are added, along with different and herbs and spices.
  • Nice: Socca is a specialty in southeastern France. It is topped generously with black pepper.
  • Sardinia: La fainé genovese reflects the island’s historical ties with Genoa.
  • Savona: This seaport town near Genoa prefeers farinata bianca (white farinata), made with wheat flour instead of chickpea flour.
  • Tuscany: Cecina (“made of chickpeas”) or torta di ceci (chickpea pie) is baked and served plain.
  • Pisa and Livorno: The pancake is stuffed into small focaccia or between two slices of bread (similar to the Argentinian “en caballo”).
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    Pizza Oven Farinata

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/farinata puttanesca blossomNY 230sq
    Top: Farinata fresh from the pizza oven, from OnMilwaukee.com. Bottom: Turned into a puttanesca “crepe” at Blossom Restaurant | NYC. We found it easier to eat with the filling on top!

      RECIPE: FARINATA, CHICKPEA SNACK PANCAKES

    Here’s a recipe from Food and Wine for a lightly seasoned farinata. To turn the snack into lunch, top it like a mini pizza. We quickly steamed mushrooms, red onions and zucchini in the microwave with diced San Marzano tomatoes and baked it on top of the pancake, like pizza.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, passive time is 2 hours, baking time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 4 cups warm water
  • 3 cups (15 ounces) chickpea flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the water into a bowl. Whisk in the chickpea flour slowly, until you have a smooth batter. Let the batter stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 500°F. Skim any foam off the top of the batter. Stir in the salt, rosemary and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. (Note that using a different oil, such as canola, gives the pancake a notably different taste.)

     
    3. HEAT two 10-inch cast-iron skillets in the oven for 10 minutes. Carefully add 2 tablespoons of the oil to each skillet, swirling to coat. Divide the batter between the skillets; it should be less than 1/2 inch thick.

    4. BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes, until crisp around the edges. Slide the farinata onto a board; cut into wedges. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.
     
     
    MORE CHICKPEA RECIPES

  • Farinata With Sage, Olives & Onion
  • Sage Farinata With A Side Of Olives & Feta
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