Farinata genovese (Genovese Chickpea Flatbread)

Farinata genovese (3)

One of the iconic dishes of Ligurian cuisine, just as typical of the region as pesto, la farinata genovese deserves to be better known. It has a wonderful, mildly nutty flavor that marries well with just about anything you want to serve it with, but it is perfectly delicious on its own, as an antipasto or snack. And it is really easy and (not counting the initial ‘rest’ for the batter) quick to make. And once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, you can dress it up in myriad ways. What’s not to like?

Ingredients

Makes a cookie sheet’s worth 

For the basic batter:

  • 250g (1/2 lb) of chickpea flour (see Notes)
  • 800ml (27 oz) water
  • Salt
  • A good pour of olive oil

Optional flavorings:

  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh rosemary leaves
  • Thinly sliced spring onions

Directions

Place the flour and salt in a large bowl, then slowly whisk in the water until  you have perfectly smooth, rather thin batter, similar to a crepe batter. Let the batter rest for at least three hours or (better) overnight. When you are ready to make your farinata, mix in the oil.

Farinata (prep 1)

Now pour the batter into a greased baking sheet. It should just cover the bottom by no more than 2 or 3 cm (1/2 inch) at most, thinner if you like. Sprinkle one of more of the optional flavorings, if you like.

Farinata (prep 2)

Bake the batter in a hot oven (200C/400F) for about 15-2o minutes, or until golden brown on top. Cut into serving pieces and serve hot.

Farinata (prep 3)

Notes

The only ‘tricky’ part of this recipe is finding the main ingredient. Chickpea flour is not that easy to find in your average supermarket, but you can find it at Whole Foods, as well as better Italian delis. And you can always order in online.

Farina di ceci

The initial rest may seem like an unnecessary drag, but it really is quite important. The rest gives the flatbread a smoother texture and richer flavor. Recipes are all over the place on how long to let it rest, some calling for as little as 3 hours, others up to 18 hours. You can even let it rest longer than that: when I last made this dish, I made more batter than I needed, so I refrigerated the rest. I didn’t get around to making a second batch until a full week later—and the second farinata was even more delicious than the first.

Variations on this recipe can be found in different parts of Liguria. According to Le ricette regionali italiane (Solares), farinata is made with half chickpea flour, half wheat flour in Savona. The thickness of the farinata also varies from place to place, usually 2-3 cm but in San Remo it is made much thinner. Besides the flavorings mentioned here, in the old days the farinata was made with flakes of stoccafisso, a kind of dried codfish similar to baccalà, but not salted.

Farinata is best served hot, right out of the oven, but it will successfully reheat without much loss of flavor or texture. But don’t eat it cold, it loses most of its charm.

Traditionally, la farinata is baked in a round baking dish, but if you don’t have one, it will taste just as good made in a normal rectangular dish.

Those of you with Sicilian ancestry will immediately see the similarity to panelle, which uses a thicker batter (more of a wet dough, that is shaped into disks and fried. Chickpea flatbreads are made round the Mediterranean basin. with the best known one made just down the coast in Provence, where they made an almost identical dish they call socca. My fellow blogger Tasty Trix just blogged about her version of the socca, so go check it out!

Farinata (plated)

 

 

Farinata genovese (Genovese Chickpea Flatbread)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: Makes a cookie sheet

Farinata genovese (Genovese Chickpea Flatbread)

Ingredients

    For the basic batter:
  • 250g (1/2 lb) of chickpea flour (see Notes)
  • 800ml (27 oz) water
  • Salt
  • A good pour of olive oil
  • Optional flavorings:
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh rosemary leaves
  • Thinly sliced spring onions

Directions

  1. Place the flour and salt in a large bowl, then slowly whisk in the water until you have perfectly smooth, rather thin batter, similar to a crepe batter. Let the batter rest for at least three hours or (better) overnight. When you are ready to make your farinata, mix in the oil.
  2. Now pour the batter into a greased baking sheet. It should just cover the bottom by no more than 2 or 3 cm (1/2 inch) at most, thinner if you like. Sprinkle one of more of the optional flavorings, if you like.
  3. Bake the batter in a hot oven (200C/400F) for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Cut into serving pieces and serve hot.
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11 Responses to “Farinata genovese (Genovese Chickpea Flatbread)”

  1. Lynn Lennox
    27 January 2014 at 22:24 #

    I have a Lodge pizza pan which is just about right for a round version of this. However, it is so shallow that the best way to use it is to grease it and put it in the oven and then, pour the batter into the pan while it is in there. Otherwise it is an impossible balancing act to get the pan with the liquid batter into the oven without spilling it. I first made farinata when a Ligurian exchange student was staying with us. He was homesick for some Ligurian cooking. This is a great base for toppings and if someone is avoiding gluten, this can be a good bread substitute too. Love your website Frank. I wish I had learned more recipes from my Italian grandmother.

  2. Diane Capocci
    30 December 2013 at 17:28 #

    Greetings:
    I found your website while searching for a farinata recipe. I have explored many of your recipes and like your website very much. My husband is from Italy and many of these dishes would be pleasing to him.
    Thank you for sharing your wealth of information. I will try many of the recipes and I am so happy to be able to add them to my recipe file.
    Your presentation is exceptional as well – I love the dishes and the granite countertop. Of course it is lunch time now, and food pictured makes me drool!
    I have signed up to receive your newsletter or correspondence or new recipes. I hope I have done it correctly.
    Thank you for this wealth of information on Italian cooking.
    Peace and blessings,
    Diane

    • 2 January 2014 at 13:42 #

      Thanks for your wonderful comment, Diane! And welcome to the site!

  3. 30 June 2013 at 16:23 #

    India markets also carry chickpea flour (besan). I must admit that I have tried to make farinata a couple of times but was not happy with the results. Your post is a good reminder that I should give it a try.

    • Arjumand
      13 August 2013 at 11:53 #

      Hi Simona, did you try this recipe with the ”Besan” flour?! Im from Pakistan and have Besan available easily so was wondering if i should go ahead with it or not, the specific flour shown in the photograph is not available in the markets here. Thank you in advance for your reply :-)

  4. 25 June 2013 at 21:48 #

    The first time I ever ate farinata was in Recco along with a helping of that wonderfully cheesy focaccia for which it’s known. I make Sicilan panelle quite often, which are of course, fried. Thanks for the inspiration! I have a bag of chick pea flour in my pantry – this may very well be tomorrow’s lunch!

  5. 24 June 2013 at 17:22 #

    Frank – I remember the first time I ate this I was in Portovenere and had never heard of it. They make it with a lot of black pepper. Seeing your directions and recipe brings back those memories.

  6. 24 June 2013 at 09:41 #

    It seems to be in the air these days, Trix used chickpea flour to make socca pizza lately. I just threw mine out since it often happens with specialty flours, I buy it for one recipe and then it sits for a year or so and goes stale. Maybe with 2 great recipes to try I will do better!

    Looks delicious!

  7. Cathy
    23 June 2013 at 15:25 #

    Looks yummy… would this be the same as panelle?

  8. 23 June 2013 at 12:00 #

    Thanks so much for this, Frank! I’m looking forward to trying it!

  9. 23 June 2013 at 10:51 #

    Frank, what a wonderful Farinata Primer! It looks beautiful, and oh so tempting, and your directions are super clear. Complimenti!

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