Farinata - Chickpea Flour Pancake
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Stroll the narrow streets of Genoa and you're sure to spot golden farinata batter being poured across a wide, shallow copper pan and popped into a wood-burning pizza oven. Farinata is a savory chickpea flour pancake typically eaten as a midmorning or midafternoon snack. The pan and the oven contribute to a pancake that's crispy and lacy at the edges—fried, almost—but that retains a creamy, custardy interior. The recipe itself is simple—a crêpe-like batter is made from just chickpea flour, water, and salt—but finding the right cooking method to replicate this dish in a home oven was a challenge. The key turned out to be cast iron—a preheated 12-inch cast-iron skillet was the closest approximation we found to a traditional pan, and its excellent heat retention gave our pancake a wonderfully crisped bottom and edges, and an evenly cooked, custardy interior. Farinata is often served plain or with just one or two adornments. We preferred fresh rosemary and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper, both of which complemented the salty, savory pancake.
- 1 cup (4½ ounces) (garbanzo bean) chickpea flour
- 2 cups water
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- coarse sea salt
- Whisk chickpea flour, water, and salt in large bowl until smooth. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add oil, swirl to coat evenly, and heat until shimmering. Add rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Whisk batter to recombine and pour into skillet. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until top of pancake is dry and golden and edges begin to pull away from sides of skillet, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove skillet from oven and heat broiler.
- Return skillet to oven and broil until pancake is spotty brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Let pancake cool slightly in skillet on wire rack for 5 minutes. Using thin spatula, loosen edges and underside of pancake from skillet, then carefully slide pancake onto cutting board. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste. Cut into wedges and serve warm.