FARINATACHICKPEA FLOUR PANCAKE FROM LIGURIAN REGION OF ITALY (also known as Socca or torta di ceci)
Yield: 1 x 12” pancake
This is a traditional chickpea flour pancake of the Ligurian region of Italy. This crepe is also known as Socca, or Torta di Ceci. It was one of my favourite dishes at the Street Food area of this year’s Terra Madre/Salone del Gusto in Turin, Italy from October 23 to 27, 2014. It’s simple to make on the stovetop or in the oven. Treat it as a carrier for different toppings (like pizza) and it’s gluten free. My favourite version is topped with fresh pesto and grated Parmesan cheese. The oven baked version may be crispier than the stovetop and can be cut into thin ‘crackers’.
In a bowl, place the chickpea flour, salt and pepper. Slowly add the lukewarm water, whisking to remove any lumps. An immersion blender works well here. Stir in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Cover and let sit for at least 20 to 30 minutes or longer if you have the time – the consistency should be like heavy cream.
Stove top method:Heat a 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet over high heat. Heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil. When hot, pour in the batter to ½” thickness (there may be enough batter for two pancakes). Reduce heat to medium and fry until set and frying side is lightly golden. Carefully turn over in pan (you can slide onto a plate and flip over in the pan) and continue to fry until frying slide is lightly golden. Remove to cutting board and slice into think strips. Or before cutting, serve as they did at Terra Madre: spread a coat of pesto on top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, cut into wedges.
Oven method: Preheat oven to 450 F. Place a 10” to 12” pizza pan or ovenproof cast iron pan in the oven to heat up. When hot, remove and add 2 tbsp olive oil and batter. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes or until pancake is firm and edges are set. Heat the broiler and brush the top of the pancake with 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil if it looks dry. Set the pancake a few inches away from the broiler, and cook just long enough to brown it in spots. Cut it into wedges, and serve hot or warm, or as above, top with pesto and Parmesan cheese.
Other toppings: Sauté 2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary with 1 cup thinly sliced onions. Spread on farinata and serve. You can also add the sautéed rosemary and onions to the baking pan before adding the batter and pour the patter on top and fry or bake as above.