Recipe & Images: AMBER BREMNER
Farinata (also known as socca in France) is made with chickpea flour and water. These simple ingredients can be enhanced with herbs, spices or vegetables, then cooked in a very hot oven to create a deeply golden quiche-like pancake with lacy edges. Use any fresh soft green herbs you like — parsley, chives, mint, basil and oregano will all work here. Olive oil is traditional, but as it’s less stable at high heat I prefer to use coconut oil. Chickpea flour (also known as besan or gram flour) is available from Bin Inn, Indian food stores and some supermarkets.
3 cups water
2 cups chickpea flour
1 cup soft green herbs, roughly chopped
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely grated
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
500g asparagus (2 bunches)
Make the farinata batter ahead of time. Whisk water, chickpea flour, herbs, lemon zest, garlic, salt and a good grind of black pepper together until smooth, then set aside, covered, for a minimum of two hours. This resting time hydrates the chickpea flour and ensures a good result.
Preheat oven to 250°C with a shelf towards the top of the oven. Snap tough ends off the asparagus and cut each stem in half. Reserve the spear ends and slice the remaining asparagus stems into rounds.
Heat a heavy ovenproof fry pan (cast iron is ideal) to a very high heat. Add the coconut oil, swirl to coat the pan and when it reaches smoking point, quickly pour in the farinata batter. Sprinkle the asparagus rounds evenly into the batter, then arrange the spears over the surface.
Carefully transfer the hot pan to a high shelf in the oven and switch the oven to grill or fan grill if you have it. Cook the farinata for 10 minutes, or until deeply golden and pulling away from the edges of the pan. It should have no jiggle. Don’t be concerned if it puffs up while cooking, it will flatten again when removed from the oven.
Slice into wedges and serve immediately.
Quite Good Food
Amber Bremner is the author of popular plant based food blog Quite Good Food. A champion for cooking and eating food that makes you feel good, she believes small changes in the way we approach food have the power to make a difference.