Artichoke Farinata

Farinata ai Carciofi


There are somethings that easily get lost in translation so it’s better not to attempt to translate farinata. It is called different things in different places, such as Cecina or Torta di ceci in Tuscany but I will refer to it as Farinata as it is  most widespread in Liguria.

Farina is the Italian word for flour, and in this case it’s chickpea flour. Farinata closely resembles pizza and is usually eaten as stand up, casual finger food.

I first saw farinata on the Italian coastal stretch of the Cinque Terre in Liguria and it was love at first sight. You can walk between the five coastal towns and stop off for a serve of farinata at each if you really felt like it. This kind of behaviour might be a bit obsessive but it has been known to be done, just so one knows where to find one’s most preferred farinata on one’s next visit to Cinque Terre. (For my money it’s the upper most shop on the hill in Rio Maggiore).

As Liguria is also the birthplace of pesto it is quite common to find pesto spread on farinata. It’s also common to find versions with zucchini / courgette  or bianchetti, which are the tiniest fish you’ve ever seen. They are quite adaptable so for this post I have made one with sliced artichoke.

Although the best place to find farinata is in the specialized farinata shops you generally will find it at pizza places that predominantly sell takeaway pizza. Traditionally, and for best results, it is cooked in a wood fired oven on special tin lined copper trays, but as most of us don’t have a wood fired oven, the domestic kitchen oven yields great results.

All you need is a few simple ingredients, some baking paper, a baking tray and an oven.

Ingredients (serves 4)
The ratio to remember is 3:1 of water to flour
1 cup of chickpea flour
3 cups water
1 large pinch salt
1/3 of a cup olive oil
4 artichokes
black pepper for grinding

The following video will give you an idea of the consistency and the traditional baking method.

YouTube Preview Image

Method

Using a large bowl and a whisk, begin by adding water to the chickpea flour a little at a time until you have mixed all the water in with the flour and ensuring there are no lumps in the mixture.

Add the salt and most of the oil and mix thoroughly.(in the video he the oil is added to the mixture on the tray.)

Ideally allow it to sit for eight hours in a cool place giving it a stir occasionally so the flour doesn’t settle. Some say four hours is enough.

Pre-heat an oven to 250C/480F.

Line a baking tray with baking paper and oil the paper or grease a non-stick baking tray with plenty of olive oil. (Using greased paper will ensure no sticking at all.)

Remove any foam that has formed on top of the mixture with a slotted spoon and discard.

Pour the mixture into the tray making sure it doesn’t exceed 1cm / .39 inch in depth.

Place on a lower rung in the oven and set your timer for 20 minutes.

If you are using a wood fired oven, make sure you keep an eye on it because it will be a very rapid cooking time.

While that is baking, clean and prepare the artichokes and slice them thinly, putting them into lemon water once they’re sliced.

When you have cut all your artichokes, drain them of the lemon water and dress them in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Remove the tray from the oven at 20 minutes and being careful not to burn yourself on the hot tray, place the artichokes evenly on top of the farinata, which by this time will have gained some colour and firmness.

Standard tray of farinata

Place it back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until the top is nicely baked and brown.

It is important that the farinata is not at all runny on the inside. It should be firm to touch and the edges will be lovely and crispy brown

Remove from the tray onto a cutting board and use a sharp knife to slice through and cut small pizza size pieces.

Serve piping hot with ground pepper.

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Picturing the Cinque Terre

Houses hanging onto coastal cliffs

Lemons and laundry

Terraced hillsides.

Lunchtime views.

Bobbing in a bay.

The Artichoke Blog ©

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12 Responses to “Artichoke Farinata”

  1. [...] rosemary (be sure to check out the blog post by my friend Michael from the Artichoke Blog with his recipe for artichoke farinata - you’ll see how similar the recipes are and there’s a great 30 second video that [...]

  2. mikey says:

    It’s a pleasure. This recipe is one of the easiest ever.

  3. I got to this recipe by searching Yahoo. I have to say that this looks enticing. Thank you for taking your time submitting this recipe!

  4. mikey says:

    Farinata stalker.

  5. mikey says:

    Indeed.it’s an illness. xo

  6. mikey says:

    So good to hear you can create a nice warming recipe while being trapped by the snow. cheers

  7. Aileen says:

    I’m snowed in today in Washington, DC and am so grateful to have come across your site via tastespotting. Since I’ve got nothing much else to do, I’ve been cooking. But i’ve run out of wheat flour and can’t get out to buy more. However, I have a bag of chickpea flour in my pantry just waiting for a purpose. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Lucas says:

    Ilaria, Genova is a wonderful city! My favourite, in fact. I love the complete absurdity of the way those streets and houses are built on impossibly steep hills. Ah, I miss it.

    Mikey, I chuckled when I saw you’d done your own Farinata recipe. I remember going out for aperativi in Torino with you – you were a SLAVE to the Farinata whenever it was brought out… he he.

  9. mikey says:

    i agree on all counts.

  10. Ilaria says:

    The only reason why I liked visiting Genova, a town I find too depressing for words, was farinata. The artichoke addition is a wonderful idea!

  11. mikey says:

    Hey Lynne, Thank you for your generous words. In that kind of weather I have no qualms about being a bit feline and staying in. My neighbours are away at the moment and made me welcome to their oven, so there’s plenty more baking goodness coming up to share. Thanks again and keep warm. Ciao Michael

  12. Lynne says:

    What fabulous pictures. Right now I am sitting in my warm (ish) house, knowing it’s FREEZING cold outside, and soon I will have to go out there and de-ice my car, ready to negotiate the slithery English narrow roads. By contrast, these pictures generate warmth and delicious baking sunshinewith mouth watering food. I have enjoyed sharing these warm moments. Thank you!

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