I had a girlfriend and her kiddos over for lunch the other day. I wanted to make something easy and tasty. All of the most important qualities when entertaining, right? I also wanted it to be gluten free.
When we visited Lucca a few months ago, I had this wonderful little snack called farinata. It is like a flatbread, but made with a chickpea flour crust. In Italy, they bake it in a brick oven and then top it with proscuitto or other cured meats and sometimes cheeses. So delicious and the perfect snack or light meal! I found a few recipes online and decided to go for it. I used one recipe to figure out the measurements and a different recipe for the method. The results were great, a nice crispy browned but still soft bottom mixed with some yummy and flavorful toppings. I think I will most certainly make it again!
Here is what used for the batter…
- 3 3/4 cups water
- 2 1/3 cups chickpea flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons herbs de provence
- 3 Tbsp fat of your choice (I used butter and olive oil combined)
For the toppings…
- 2 Tbsp butter
- onion, sliced
- cherry tomatoes, quartered
- chunk of good feta cheese
In a large bowl, whisk the chickpea flour, herbs de provence, and salt. Slowly add the water and stir until there are no lumps. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside on the counter to rest for about 3 hours at room temperature.
When you are ready to begin the cooking portion…melt the butter in a skillet and add the onions. Allow them to caramelize (should take about 15-20 minutes). While the onions are cooking, prep the rest of your ingredients. Skim the foam off the top of the batter and add the 2 Tbsp olive oil. Stir gently.
Melt the 3 Tbsp fat of your choice in a large cast iron skillet. Pour about 1/2-2/3 of the batter into the skillet, depending on the size of your cast iron. You want it to be a little more than 1/4 inch thick so it can hold the toppings. You can save the rest of the batter to make another batch today or you can keep it for a couple of days in the fridge.
Preheat your broiler. Now you have to wait and watch. The batter must brown on the bottom and become set and matte on the top, similar to a pancake. This step took about 5-10 minutes for me, although I wasn’t watching the clock to much. Once the batter appears to be getting a bit crispy and light brown on the bottom and looks a little more firm on the top/middle, add the tomatoes, cheese, and onions. Now place it under the broiler for about 5 minutes to finish cooking. Once you (carefully) remove it from the oven, you will have to let it cool for a while. If you cut into it before it is cooled properly, it will be too crumbly.
I served our farinata with a light mache salad. There were no leftovers. 🙂 Buon Appetite!!!!