One very cold night in the village, a few weeks ago now, the whole household was cooped up inside. It had been torrentially raining for days. We had the fire going downstairs, no one wanted to leave their bedrooms. By the time we all emerged, we were starving and it was late. Lucia made us a chickpea flour bread, that she served with braised greens. In Italy this bread is called farinata. It’s made with just olive oil, flour and water and it’s delicious. It has a super fine crumb because of the chickpea flour, and is moist because of the olive oil in it. It was great straight out of the oven with the sweet braised greens, but would be great too with something saucy. It can be seasoned with fresh rosemary, pepper and sea salt. When Lucia made it she seasoned it with fennel seeds. Traditionally it’s cut into irregularly shaped triangular slices, and eaten as a side.
Lots of recipes call for the batter of this mix to be left to ferment overnight. You’ll get a better texture if you do ferment it, but Lucia made it without and it was still great. I had a go at making it without fermenting it too, these pictures are from a much sunnier day when I made it. It turned out great, I added some roast pumpkin and sunflower seeds into my batter for crunch.
For the bread;
Combine 2 cups of chickpea flour and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in around 1 cup warm water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil until very smooth. You want the batter to be like a thick pancake mix.
Heat 1 1/2 tbs oil in a 30cm ovenproof frypan over a medium heat. Add half of the batter to the pan and tilt the pan so it’s evenly covered, then cook until the bread starts to bubble. You’re looking for the mix to be cooked in the middle. You can then either flip the bread, which can be a bit tricky. Or transfer it to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until crisp and golden on top. It will still be moist in the centre once it’s cooked, but not wet. I served it with some monks
beard cooked with olive oil and garlic pictured below.