This week I want to take you all to Liguria for my weekly Regional Italian dish. Liguria is a coastal region in North-western Italy famous for its seaside, colourful villages and delicious food. Who hasn’t heard of Cinque Terre or Portofino and who hasn’t eaten pesto or focaccia at least once? Unfortunately this area has also been hit by terrible storms and floods in the past few weeks, so much so that entire villages have literally disappeared and some people have lost their lives. This is my little tribute to this special region of Italy and to all its people. As I have already given you the recipe for pesto and focaccia, today I thought of blogging about another traditional dish of the region: the delicious Farinata di ceci (also known as frisciolata, socca, turta or turtellassu depending on what area of Liguria you are from/in!). It is a very simple dish, made with only chickpea flour, water, extra virgin olive oil and salt. It is also a very ancient recipe as it is said to have been invented about 2000 years ago during Roman times! The site from which I have adapted the recipe also tells a very nice legend about the origin of Farinata. Apparently the dish, as we know it now, was created in 1284 when the city of Genoa defeated the city of Pisa in the battle of Meloria. On the way back, the Genoese ships were returning to Genoa when they were hit by a tempest. Some olive oil and chickpea flour barrels broke, mixed and got wet with salty sea water. After the tempest, the sailors did not have anything else to eat, so they put this mixture to dry in the sun and then ate it! 🙂 Well… now it looks (and tastes) so much better, don’t you think? Farinata – It can be eaten plain or with stracchino/crescenza cheese, with pesto or rosemary! Enjoy and remember to check out all my other posts on Regional Italian recipes!
Recipe adapted from Giallo Zafferano
Ingredients (for 1 round pan of 40 cm / 16 inches in diameter – I used 2 cookie sheets instead):
900 ml – 3 ¾ cups water
300 gms – 10.5 oz. chickpea flour
½ glass extra virgin olive oil + more to grease the baking dish
Salt and Pepper to taste
Put the chickpea flour and water in a big bowl or pot and mix well. Make sure there are no lumps in the mixture.
Cover it with a lid and let it rest on the benchtop overnight (or at least 10 hours). It DOES NOT have to be refrigerated.
The following day remove the foam from the top with a slotted spoon and then mix well.
Add salt (1 to 2 tsp, but it depends on how tasty the chickpea flour is, so make sure to taste your mix before adding the salt) and the extra virgin olive oil. Mix well.
Grease the oven proof pan with some more extra virgin olive oil and pour in the chickpea mixture (it has to be approximately 1 cm thick).
Bake in a pre heated oven at 220ºC/430ºF for 30 minutes or until golden. Then turn your oven to grill and cook it for a few extra minutes until the farinata turns golden brown.
When ready, sprinkle it with some salt and pepper, cut it and serve it warm.
I like mine with pesto!
[email protected] says
Interesting read, especially the info on how this recipe actually originated. I like savory flatbreads and this chickpea bread would make for an excellent appetizer or a side with soup. Glad you posted this one-your plating of this bread looks amazing.
Vibey @ Yumbo McGillicutty! says
Oh, I love farinata! Interesting factoid: it migrated along with Italian migrants during the early 20th century, where its name was corrupted to “fainá”. It is sold in pizza houses, and it’s a common habit to put a slice of fainá on top of a slice of pizza and eat the two together.
Katherine Martinelli says
What a lovely post, Manu! I am so saddened to hear about the destructive flooding. My thoughts are with them. I’ve never heard of farinata di ceci so thank you for introducing me to a new dish! It looks delicious, especially with that pesto on top!
Jill Colonna says
Now that confirms why I never wanted to be a sailor. Much prefer your version! Another super post, Manu. This is amazing – and it has come just in time for my parents-in-law who are on return from spending a holiday in that area. Now I can show off, asking them about this dish, as if I make it all the time. 😉 Pesto version is to die for.
The Mistress of Spices says
Very nice! I had socca (which I guess is the French version of farinata) for the first time while in Nice this summer. I would love the try the Italian version and might just have to make your recipe since I don’t think I will be in Italy anytime soon. Thanks for sharing!
Kiri W. says
Wow, I’ve never encountered farinata, but I love chickpea flour dishes, and pesto. It looks mouthwatering! Really interesting new food, thank you so much for sharing!
Giulietta | Alterkitchen says
Wow, Manu, your farinata looks amazing!!! I must try your way.. bookmarked! 🙂
Sandra's Easy Cooking says
Manu, this look so tasty! I enjoy your recipe very much and this one is also must try!!! Thank you for sharing sweetie, and have a awesome weekend ahead!
Parsley Sage says
Mmm…I bet that’s MUCH better than the one the sailors ate 🙂 I love the story behind it too!
And I hear you on the hot Christmas thing. It makes it tough to sing most of the holiday songs and you just can’t drink mulled wine in 80 degree temperature
Oh my goodness, this looks amazing! My mouth is watering for this snack. Yum!
Elyse @The Cultural Dish says
This is such a wonderful tribute Manu! I had no idea that there were such terrible storms happening there.
This dish looks so yummy though and I would definitely spread some pesto on!
Paolo @ DisgracesOnTheMenu says
Manu, wonderful farinata – and great food photography 🙂
I was in Cinque Terre just a few months ago – I loved every single minute of it, and I did have some great farinata. I was shocked by the flood – very sad. I’m sure however that the people from Liguria will find the strength to clean everything up and rebuild.
😮 I’ve never had foccaccia. I should be ashamed! I love this recipe though, particularly because I have a bag of chickpea flour to use.
Mi Vida en un Dulce says
La Liguria…Portofino…there was a very very long time I was in Italy, but I still remember the colors, the views, the flavors…This Farinata looks delicious, and so healthy…
[email protected] The Littlest Anchovy says
You are my official resource for italian cuisine. I love that you tell us all about the origin of the meal, so interesting.
Love the history lesson about this dish..and am loving the dish too!!!! Look forward to trying it as we always have besan at home! 🙂
Oh, love the recipe….I could smell wonderful aroma through photos….Thank you:)
Wow I’ve made something very similar before but it didn’t look any where near as tasty as yours! It’s terrible that people have been suffering.
Nuts about food says
Great story, I love these legends. It is always interesting to see how some similar foods all along the coasts of the Mediterranean, from Tuscany, to Sicily to the South of France were adapted to individual, local traditions.
Yummy! I have never had farinatas before. It sounds like wintery version of humus.:-) such a great snack and especially even better with your home made pesto. Thanks for sharing your recipe Manu.
Reem | Simply Reem says
This looks so good Manu….
Also a very well written post…
Thanks for sharing dear, trust me every time I am here at your blog I not only drool seeing all this yummy goodness but learn so much too…
You rock girl…
I just love all your Italian dishes and this one in particular is very similar to a Indian( Gujrati) flat bread. My husband is a huge fan of chick pea flour and this I should try at home after my trip.
Hester Casey - Alchemy says
Your version sounds so much better than the sailors’ version, Manu. Interesting to hear the origins of the recipe.
Vered @EatNowTalkLater says
I love ceci! My friend recommended it to me last year when I went to Pisa and I ate it in a focacia with pepperonata. I loved it so much that I made it when I got back home to show my family. Delicious! Lovely photos, thanks for sharing!
So beautiful, Manu…I love the unique dishes I always find when I visit…and this one looks as pretty as it does tasty. I hadn’t heard of the storms hitting the Italian coast…how horrible.
Beth Michelle says
Manu this looks amazing. I dont think you can go wrong with a 2000 year old recipe! It looks especially devine with that pesto topping.
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
Your Farinata looks delicious and your photography is beautiful. Anyone seeing this photo is probably hungry now. 😉 I’m always learning so much about Italian cuisines from you.
I REALLY have to get some chickpea flour! 😀
Awesome post! It’s been ages since I had real farinata (or faina, as it’s called in Uruguay), not some sloppy cheese monstrosity. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this!
Most of the recipes I have for farinata call for letting the batter rest for 10 hours or more and then scooping off the foamy top. Does that give it a different texture ?
Hi. I’m a terrible cook. I’m gonna try to make this tomorrow. How much Olive Oil exactly? Thanks!