August 4, 2018 9:30 am
There is a typical street food in Genoa that is so poor it looks like gold. How is that possible?
The answer is in the chickpea flour, water, salt and olive oil: that is what it takes to make a nice farinata (literally “made of flour”), a thin chickpea pancake baked in a wood-fired oven until it gets a golden colour.
If chickpea flour meal dates back to the Roman expansion, when soldiers roasted it on their shields with water or oil, the current version of farinata was developed in the Middle Ages in the Ligurian sea coast, from Nice to the Elba island. Then, it was exported in the Mediterranean basin by the traders of the republic of Genoa and later in South America by the immigrants leaving Liguria. Therefore, we have different names and variations depending on the countries.
In Genoese dialect it is called fainâ de çeixi, and some variations include rosemary, onions and whitebait.
It is very popular in Nice and the Côte d’Azur, where it goes by the name of socca.
In Tuscany it is called cecìna and you can usually find it as stuffing in sandwiches.
In Sardinia it is known as fainè, while in Gibraltar and the north of Morocco, where they also add eggs, it is called calentita.
Finally, in Uruguay and Argentina, it is called fainá and it is very common to find it on pizza.
Whatever you call it and whichever version you prefer, if you want to make your own farinata the recipe is very simple… let’s go!
You will need:
300 g of chickpea flour
900 ml of water
Oil and salt
– Put the flour in a bowl and use a whisk to mix it with the water in order to avoid lumps from forming.
– After adding a pinch of salt, cover the bowl and let it rest for at least four hours at room temperature.
– Remove the foam formed on the surface during the rest period, add some oil and bake it in an oiled pan at 220 °C for 20 minutes.
Serve hot and enjoy!
- Vassallo, F., La Farinata di ceci, l’oro sulle tavole genovesi, La Gazzetta del Gusto
- “Farinata di ceci”, Wikipedia
- Phillips, K., Ligurian Chickpea Pancake Recipe (Farinata), The Spruce Eats
Written by Massimo Bertocchi, terminology trainee at Termcoord
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