Cathy’s kitchen Prescription LLC
A Fermented Farinata
This baked chickpea flatbread is a crowd favorite all along the Mediterranean coastline. It has many names – fainâ in Genova, socca in southern France, cecina or farinata de ceci in Tuscany, fainè in Sardinia, and fainá as far away as Argentina.
Inspired by fermentation guru Sandor Katz to ferment this batter longer than the few hours usually called for to develop its flavor and increase its digestibility and nutrient bioavailability. The result is a fluffier, tastier farinata!
Typically baked in a puddle of shimmering hot oil, mine is oil-free. I dressed it up with slices of artichoke heart and shallot and seasoned it with rosemary, shiro miso, and generous grinds of black pepper. Fainâ is best fresh and hot out of the oven. Serve before dinner with (virgin) aperitifs and a few good olives, or on a mezze table with other small bites, or as an accompaniment to a hearty soup or salad.
Prep time Up to 2 days to ferment batter plus 10 minutes
Bake time 15 minutes
Makes four or five 7- to 9-inch flatbreads
400 grams (about 3½ cups) chickpea flour
1300 milliliters of spring water (about 5 cups) (treated water will impede fermentation)
5 tablespoons shiro (mild white) miso paste or to taste
Needles from sprigs of fresh rosemary
12-ounce jar of oil-free artichoke hearts or 7 to 9 defrosted frozen artichoke hearts, cut in ¼-inch slices
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
Fresh grinds of black pepper
Chickpea batters can be lumpy so if you have a blender, use it to mix the chickpea flour and water, running it for a minute to create a very smooth thin batter. Alternatively, sift the chickpea flour prior to mixing. Transfer to a medium-large bowl, mark the level of the batter in the bowl with a piece of tape, and cover loosely. The batter will expand and thicken as it ferments. Whisk 3 or 4 times per day. The batter will be optimally fermented when it rises about ½ inch or more up the walls of the bowl, develops a velvety texture, and tastes slightly tangy. It is best to make the farinata now but if you are not ready, cover and refrigerate until use. If the batter begins to produce a layer of clearish liquid on top, the alcoholic byproduct of fermentation, it means your batter has passed its peak. Pour off the liquid slowly and proceed directly to baking. If you are not able to bake immediately, feed the batter with a little more chickpea flour and water and refrigerate until use.
Bake the farinata on the lower oven rack. Preheat the oven to 500F or 475F if that is your oven max. Insert your baking pan to preheat too. Oil-free farinata will stick badly to metal, so either line your pan with parchment or use a nonstick pan that is designed to handle this level of heat but do not exceed your nonstick pan’s recommended heat limitations. Right before baking, season the batter to taste with miso, dissolving it well.
Remove the heated pan from the oven, line with parchment, if using, and pour two ladles of batter over the parchment or directly on the nonstick pan. Farinata should be thin, about ¼ inch high. Decorate with artichokes and shallot slices, rosemary needles, and several grinds of black pepper.
Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes and check. When the farinata has set and the perimeter has lightly darkened, switch the oven from bake to broil. Once the flame ignites, broil for just a minute or two, until the top is lightly browned overall. Transfer to a cooling rack and repeat with the remaining batter. The parchment should peel off easily once the farinata has cooled a little.
Cut into wedges and serve immediately.
top of page
Sign up for emails on super healthy, delicious plant-based recipes, cooking tips, events, announcements & the latest on plant-based nutritional research.
bottom of page