I love bread, all kinds of bread, wheat, corn, barley, rye and that’s just the beginning because as I discovered recently, bread isn’t just made from grain. Lately, I’ve been sampling flatbread in a search for the perfect pizza delivery system. That’s how I discovered bean flours, specifically garbanzo or chickpea flour and a beautiful, crispy, delectable Mediterranean flatbread called farinata or socca in Sicily. Practically every country in that part of the world has some version of it. At this point, we’re no longer discussing pizza crust, so stay with me.
I’m still trying to figure out how I could not have known about something this yummy, but better late than never. Farinata is one of those comfort food dishes that disappears from the plate before it’s even had time to cool off and I understand that some cafes and restaurants in Italy post the time that their farinata will be coming out of the oven and people line up to get it while it’s hot. I’ve been known to bake it in the morning and eat every crumb before anyone else gets home. The best part is that it is so easy to make. Get out the cast iron and warm up the oven.
Makes one serving for me, or two if I’m feeling generous.
- 1 cup garbanzo or chickpea flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon rosemary (or other herb of your choice), chopped fine
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine chickpea flour and water in a bowl; whisk until the batter is smooth.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight to ferment.
This adds a lovely nutty flavor to the bread.
The following morning (or later if you’re sharing), heat the oven to 450 degrees and place your cast iron pan (I used an 8-inch skillet) in the oven, heating it until it’s smoking hot.
In the meantime, remove the plastic wrap from the batter and stir in the salt, chopped herbs and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Remove the pan from the oven, pour in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and swirl around to coat the bottom and sides of the pan and to heat the oil.
Pour the batter into the pan and swirl to cover the bottom like a pancake. The batter should sizzle.
Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the edges are brown and crispy.
Remove from the oven and turn out upside down onto a plate (you want the pretty crispy side to show).
Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.