Farinata is a regional specialty from Liguria ( the coastal region of north-western Italy) and a nutritious alternative to wheat bread. It is made of chickpea flour, water, extra virgin olive oil and salt. Crispy in the outside and creamy in the center, it is flavorful just plain. But it can also be topped with all kind of seasonal vegetables, herbs, olives or cheese. This version includes sauteed artichokes, garlic and fresh parsley. The key of success is to bake it in a hot pan at very high temperature (around 500 Fahrenheit that renders a golden crispiness to the outside with a soft, almost custardy center). I like to serve it as an appetizer or as a companion for salads, soup, or meats.
For the artichoke
- 10 baby artichokes
- 1 lemon
- 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
For the farinata
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 3/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly minced black pepper
To prepare the artichoke, fill a bowl with 3 cups of water and add the juice of one lemon. Cut off 1/3 from the top of the artichokes, trim the stem and then remove any and all tough outer leaves. Quarter the artichokes and drop them into the bowl of acidified water (to prevent discoloration).
Heat a sauté pan over a medium heat with olive oil. Drain the artichokes and add them to the pan along with the garlic and the salt. Add 3 tablespoon of water and cook covered, stirring occasionally, until the artichokes tender. Add the parsley and turn the heat off.
To make the farinata, whisk the chickpea flour in a mixing bowl with the salt. Add the water and olive oil gradually and whisk well until the batter is smooth. Cover the bowl and let it sit for at least 5 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven and the baking pan you are going to use to cook the farinata to 500 Fahrenheit. Spread remaining olive oil over your preheated pan. Pour the batter into the pan and top with the artichokes. Bake for 15 or 20 minutes until golden brown.
Serve Farinata with freshly ground black pepper and extra salt.