So we spent a few days last week with my friends Hell and Silvia, and it was a pleasure to introduce Silvia to a local dish – basically a form of street or finger food – that she had never tried before: farinata1.
This culminated in an evening in the best place in town for this simple dish, with four writers and a Jack the Ripper expert around the same table (yes, we did attract a few worried looks), eating the stuff and drinking artisan beer.
So, this being now the official food of local (and not so local) indie writers, I thought it would be fun to post the recipe here.
• 300 g of chickpea flour
• 1 liter of water
• 1/2 cup of oil
In a large bowl pour the liter of cold water. Using a small whisk, gradually dilute all the chickpea flour, stirring constantly to avoid the formation of lumps. Then add the oil pouring it into slowly, and a teaspoon of salt, continue stirring until you get a homogeneous mixture and let it rest for 30 minutes. Line a wide and low pan with the appropriate paper, brush it with plenty of oil, pour the farinata, smooth it and bake in a hot oven at 220 °C for 10 minutes or until a crust has formed on the surface. Withdraw, sprinkle the farinata with pepper and rosemary, serve hot or luke-warm.
The dish originated here in Nizza or, according to other traditions, in Genoa, but is a widespread form of finger food, and can be found not only all over Italy (except in Bolzano, where Silvia lives), but all over the Mediterranean basin.
It is called Socca or Panisse in France (in the Nice and Marseille areas respectively), Calentita in Gibraltar and Karantita in Algeria.
And in India you get Dal, Chila, Besan and Puda, depening on the region, that are basically the same thing.
Clearly this is going to become the official Karavansara food.
- some may remember that there is a character called Farinata in Dante’s Inferno. He has no relation with the food, but was indeed a source of endless mirth among students back in the day. The fact that he is usually portrayed in a flaming oven-like contraption used to be an extra cause of hilarity. ↩
- because this is, after all, Karavansara, and you come here for the fine food, but you stay for the conversation. ↩