A close cousin of focaccia flatbread, the main ingredients of farinata are chickpeas and water. Despite the simplicity of its recipe, it offers an authentic and truly complex flavour, making it an ideal accompaniment to Italian aperitifs worthy of fine diners!
Chickpea farinata has ancient origins dating back as far as the XIII century, the age in which vessels were driven by the force of the wind and the arms of oarsmen. The food stored in the ship’s pantry during crossings mainly consisted of pulses, such as chickpeas, which kept well and were not prone to deterioration.
During the battle of Meloria, which took place around 1284, one of the larger vessels got caught up in a terrible storm and lost many members of its crew.
Following the heavy rain, the sun came out again but the chickpea stores were completely flooded with sea water. The sailors, exhausted and hungry, ate the chickpea and water mush, but many of them refused to do so. After a few days, driven by hunger pangs, even those who had been loath to eat the unpleasant looking mush, saw themselves forced to do so to survive. The chickpea and water mixture, left in the sun for a few days, had formed a golden crust and the flavour was decidedly agreeable. This was how the first farinata came into being!
Simple and mouth-watering, farinata is one of those recipes that can be served at any time of the day, as a main meal or as a snack with cold cuts, cheese and olives! Here is the traditional recipe for making an authentic Italian farinata!
Pour the water (at room temperature) into a bowl and then sprinkle in the chickpea flour, stirring all the time to prevent lumps from forming. Leave the batter to rest in a cool place for one night, then remove any froth that has formed on the surface and give it another good mix before adding some extra virgin olive oil.
Pour the farinata mixture into a well oiled baking tin, season the surface with some rosemary sprigs and salt before baking in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes.
To give your farinata an extra kick, once cooked, season it with coarse salt flakes. A simple touch that will give a lively texture to this fantastic recipe!