Saturday, November 15, 2008

Recipe for Farinata with Rosemary and Pepper (Italian Chickpea Flatbread or Pancake)

FarinataThis slightly crispy chickpea flatbread called Farinata comes from the region of Italy called Liguria, and it's something I've been wanting to try for a long time. It's made by combining water, olive oil, and chickpea flour, letting it rest, seasoning with herbs and black pepper, and then baking in an ultra-hot oven, and this same combination of ingredients is called Socca in France and Cecina or Torta de Ceci in other parts of Italy. Since the batter is made entirely with chickpea flour, it's gluten free and extremely low-glycemic, perfect for a South Beach Dieter who's been wanting a crunchy snack.

I've been to Italy, but not to Liguria, so I have no idea if my way of making this is authentic. The farinata I've seen on other blogs looks much more yellow, and I'm wondering if the chickpea flour in Italy may be a bit different, but this version was delicious and it's definitely something I'll be making again. This delicious flatbread with rosemary is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, now managed by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once, and hosted by Heather from Diary of a Fanatic Foodie this week. Here is more information about WHB if you'd like to participate.

Finding the Chickpea Flour may be tricky if you don't live in a big city. I'd check European, Indian, or Middle Eastern markets, or you can follow that link and buy it from Amazon.com. (Full disclaimer, Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar when you buy things I've linked to, so thanks to anyone who does.)

Most recipes I saw said the flour/water/olive oil combination should rest for a while before it's cooked. I let it rest overnight the first time and only 3 hours the second time, and didn't see too much difference in the end result. After the thin batter had rested, I mixed in finely chopped rosemary.


I didn't have a cast iron griddle like this is cooked on in Italy, so I preheated my pan in the 450F oven before I poured the batter in, then ground black pepper over the top. This pan is 9" X 13" but if you're using the oven I think the pan could be a little larger. (Thanks to a sharp commenter for noticing I didn't mention that!)

Here's the cooked farinata, which I cut into cracker-shaped pieces. Since then I've read that it's cooked on round pans in Italy and cut into irregular shaped pieces. I've been thinking of buying a round cast-iron frying pan, which seems like it would be perfect for cooking this. I'm also thinking that I made it too thick, after reading about it on other blogs. Stay tuned for more Farinata experiments!


Farinata (Italian Chickpea Flatbread)
(Inspired by recipes from Beyond Salmon and Lucullian Delights.)

Ingredients:
1 cup chickpea flour
1 1/4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
2 T olive oil (plus 1 T more for greasing pan)
1 T finely chopped fresh rosemary (or use a smaller amount of dried rosemary, ground in a mortar and pestle or pounded with something heavy)
coarse ground black pepper

Instructions:
Mix together chickpea flour and salt, mix in water and olive oil and let the batter rest several hours or longer. (Some recipes recommend sifting the flour and salt together, but I just whisked the water into it.)

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 450F, then preheat the pan for about 10 minutes. (I cooked this in a small toaster oven which doesn't get hotter than 450F. If your oven goes higher, I would use a higher temperature.) Finely chop 1 T fresh rosemary (or grind a smaller amount of dried rosemary) and whisk into batter. Remove pan from oven, pour in about 1 T olive oil and spread around, then pour in batter. Grind a generous amount of black pepper over batter.

Bake the farinata until it's starting to crisp and brown around the edges, about 20-25 minutes. This is meant to be served warm, but I thought it was also delicious cold, when it become slightly crisp like a cracker.


Printer Friendly Recipe


South Beach Suggestions:
Since chickpeas are such a perfect low-glycemic ingredient, this delightful snack would be great for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. (I had previously listed this recipe as approved for all phases, but I discovered in one of the South Beach Diet cookbooks that all flours are prohibited for phase one, even nut flours and non-wheat flours. I apologize for the mistake.) If you like South Beach Diet friendly hummus, I'm guessing you will like this too. Thanks to a reader named Mare who reminded me in the comments that this would be a great vehicle for delivering hummus to your mouth too!

More Versions of Farinata from Around the Web:
Farinata from Beyond Salmon
Chickpea Farinata with Onions and Black Pepper from Lucullian Delights
Farinata from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once
Farinata from Viaggi and Sappori
Fa-ri-na-ta from Creampuffs in Venice
(Find more Farinata Recipes using Food Blog Search.)
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46 comments:

  1. Hi Kalyn, this flatbread looks simply delicious. I have seen chickpea flour at the co-op.And I know Whole Foods has it too. Look for chick pea or garbanzo flour. You can find it in the bulk section.

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  2. This looks so good, Kalyn. I'm saving your recipe to try for myself.

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  3. Kalyn, that sounds really good... I love chick peas and this bread looks really yummy. Would be great for the soup.

    Margot

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  4. This looks amazing. I've wanted to try more flatbreads, and now you've got me changing plans to head to the Indian market today in search of chickpea flour. Looks like you came up with an easy modification for the home kitchen.

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  5. I love farinata! I've tried it (as socca..) with Arabic as well as Italian chickpea flour, which is softer and finer. The Italian flour is very hard to find, and expensive, especially in the states. Now I know what to bring you on my next visit!

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  6. I remember seeing an old episode of The French Chef where Julia was in the market in Nice, and they were making socca on round cast-iron griddles. It's poured thin, like a batter, and cooks quickly until it's a not quite stiff cracker. Yours looks delicious with the rosemary.

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  7. Your farinata looks terrific!

    Paz

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  8. Hi everyone,
    Glad people like the sound of this.
    I think the chickpea flour I have is from whole foods, but I'll definitely check at the Indian market here and see what kind they have. And David, I'll look forward to some real Italian chickpea flour from you someday!

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  9. Great Day Kalyn!

    Thank you very much for a terrific blog and all the effort you have put in to encourage a sustainable, healthy and fun! cooking lifestyle.
    I am so thankful I "stumbled" on to your blog for both my hubby's health and my own. I wanted to know more so I purchased the SouthBeach Supercharged book and have just completed Phase One. I am very encouraged with some good results and also the fact that it is so realistic. I am 52 years young and I am excited about this new adventure and the myriad of health benefits for my family and myself.
    Thank you Kalyn - you and your work have truly inspired me! Many Blessings back to you and yours.
    Suzie :O)

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  10. Suzie, thanks for letting me know you're enjoying the blog, and also about your success on South Beach. It really is a very realistic way to eat, and for me the benefits of changing to a lower-glycemic way of eating have far outweighed any deprived feelings (not only the weight loss, but more energy and more even moods.) I bought that book too and need to find time to read more of it, but have enjoyed the expanded food lists in there.

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  11. Diabetic friendly and GF - a treat for my Darling and me tonight, served with hummus during football :-)

    Thanks!

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  12. Another name for chickpea flower is besan flour, which is how its labeled on the packages in the international section of my local grocery store. I think I may make this later if I have enough left in my pantry.

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  13. What a fabulous treat for those who need to be gluten-free! I love flatbreads. I'm going to add the link to my Thanksgiving post.

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  14. This looks delicious. I tried the Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen's recipe for Chickpea Crackers recently and they came out nicely too, but it's a thicker batter that you roll out and then cut with cookie cutters. I'll have to add this to my gluten-free stack of bookmarked recipes!

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  15. YUM! I love all things chickpea related. The flour is crazily easy to find here cos of the large East Indian population. I'll definitely give this recipe a try!@ :D

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  16. This sounds really tasty. One question: How large of pan should be used?

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  17. Msbluekatt, thanks for catching that! I used a 9X13 inch pan, which is the biggest my toaster oven will hold. I think my version was a bit thicker than the authentic farinata, so you could use a slightly bigger pan if you're using the oven. Will edit now!

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  18. this crispbread was one of my favorites from the WHB round up - delicious!

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  19. Would it be at all possible to use canned chickpeas (pureed) and then reduce the liquids??

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  20. Catherine, I don't think so, the batter is very thin. You might be able to use ground dried chickpeas though.

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  21. Ah, farinata is indeed fab. I blogged about it myself last week (at http://www.thedailyspud.com/2008/11/10/fabulous-farinata/) - though not in such wonderful detail :)

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  22. Hi Kalyn - just letting you know I made this on Sunday and it came out great - thanks for the inspiration!

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  23. TW, very fun, glad to hear you liked it. Now I want to get my hands on some of that real Italian chickpea flour!

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  24. Hello Kalyn!

    I'm putting this on the list to try soon. Do you have any idea how well they keep? They'd be great to take on a trip with some hummus packed in the cooler.

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  25. Sue, I ate them pretty fast, but I think I did have some for three days and they were still okay, but definitely not as crisp. I'm guessing they won't keep much longer than that.

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  26. If you go to an Indian store, ask for "gram flour" or "besan".

    This sounds really interesting, Kalyn. Before this, I've only seen Indian things made with chickpea flour. (I've never been wild about things made with besan, which is strange; I adore chickpeas!) I do like papadams that are flavoured with pepper.

    Do you think maybe the yellow colour of the farinata you've seen elsewhere may be yellower because of different olive oil too?

    -Elizabeth

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  27. Kalyn, this sounds really wonderful and it is the crunchy snack I miss most on the SB diet!Thanks for a great recipe!!

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  28. I was wondering if anybody knows whether this is suitable for diabetics. I checked out the carb count for besan (chickpea flour) and there are definitely fewer in chickpea flour than regular flour, making this a good South Beach alternative, but the carb count seemed a little high for diabetics. Have any diabetics out there tried the farinata? How did your blood sugar react? Thank you all in advance. I would love to find this out before Thanksgiving because I think it'd be great with my low-carb artichoke dip.

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  29. Anonymous, I would also love to know if this is suitable for diabetics but I have no idea.

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  30. Kalyn,

    Thank you very much for this site. I have just started the South Beach Diet (on day 6 of phase 1). I have already made several of your recipes, each one comes out delish!!
    The farinata has saved me I think as I am a HUGE bread fan and this is a wonderful replacement during the more restrictive Phase 1. I made it the first time in a baking pan and it was good, but this time I did it in a cast iron skillet like you suggested and it cooked wonderfully even, easy to remove..YUM! I loved it as you described with the rosemary, but i am also now experimenting with a sprinkle of parm cheese, garlic - also YUM!
    Thank you again for such a great non-bread alternative!!

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  31. I love the farinate recipe! It's easy to make, very yummy and filling too!

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  32. I received a comment on this post from someone named Kavya with links to other blogs for me to check to see if they're SBD friendly. I can't publish other types of links like that, (and I don't really have time to go check recipes on other blogs either, because I can barely keep up with this one!) Since I have no way to contact this person, I'm just leaving a note here to say that anything made with chickpea flour should be okay, but I'm afraid I don't know about moong dal. You might try googling it to see if you can find what the glycemic index is, and if it's relatively low it's probably okay.

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  33. Thanks Kalyn, appreciate your response. I just checked that moong dal(25) has a lower GI than chickpeas(30)..so im guessing its okay to have it. I didn't find any email id to contact you and so left a comment earlier(with the links).

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  34. Kavya, thanks for the info on moong dal. My e-mail is kalynskitchen (at) comcast (dot) net and it's listed on the left under "how to contact Kalyn.) I'm always happy to answer a question if I can.

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  35. Hi Kalyn, do you know if I can substitute almond meal/flour for the chickpea flour? Thanks!

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  36. Dannie, don't know for sure but I doubt it. Almond meal has a lot more oil, and I'm not sure it will stick together like the chickpea flour does. Maybe try a small batch and let us know how it works?

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  37. I love this recipe I ususally dont cook it as long and let it stay soft and use it as I would bread for like chili or some other soups I also used it as a Pizza crust the other day and It was AWSOME insed of adding the rosemary I used some garlic and some Italian seasonings in the bread. I also have used it insed of bread when I made whole wheat spagetti and added a little olive oil and some parmesean cheese to it it was soooo good.

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  38. Also I forgot to add that I cook it in a stonewear bar pan and it works GREAT!!!

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  39. Konica, thanks for all the good tips. I need to make it again because I now have a cast iron griddle!!

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  40. Hi,

    An easier option to getting hold of chickpea flour is to visit your local indian grocery store - its usually called 'Besan'. And its one of the staples of indian cooking, so its bound to be there!

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  41. EinsteinsSmellySock, that's true, but several people have told me that the chickpea flour used in Italy is different than the Indian version. I'm not sure if it's true, would love to do a side-by-side test myself!

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  42. yum! I am in the middle of Phase 1, and this recipe is awesome, especially with hummus dip. I use finely chopped red onion, garlic, rosemary, sage, and oregano + lots of cracked black pepper in mine. I'm going to give an Indian accent to my next attempt -- cumin, fennel, chili powder. sounds good, right?

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  43. Hi Kalyn, Google found me your site earlier today and I'm loving it. Just had the chilli (can't remember the name, the one with lime) out of my slow cooker and it was great. I found this recipe and went down to the bulk foods shop to get Chickpea flour (the Indian sort is also called Chana flour). If anyone is interested, the flour may be mixed with equal amounts of water and used in recipes as a egg replacer (handy if you have had your servings of egg for the day!).

    Looking forward to trying this recipe out!

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  44. Cherie, thanks for that tip; I didn't know that about chickpea flour. There is also a recipe on the site for Socca which is type of french pancake/crepe made with the chickpea flour.

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Thanks for joining the conversation! I love hearing from readers and even though I can't always reply to every comment, I will always answer specific questions on a recipe as soon as possible. Sometimes I'm answering by iPhone, so my replies may be short!

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