Farinata (Socca)

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This farinata recipe is packed with tons of plant-based protein and pairs perfectly with soups, salads, and curries. This popular street food is also satisfying, easy to prepare, and so good when served straight out of the oven!

Every time I cook farinata, I end up eating the entire thing before the evening’s out. It’s just that good.

Although the batter for this traditional recipe takes a while to rest, the final result is always uber-authentic and perfectly crispy.

And once it’s in the oven, it’s ready in minutes!

Totally worth the wait.

This is one of my favorite chickpea flour recipes of all time, and I love pairing it with a hearty chickpea and potato curry or pumpkin soup during the fall and winter months.

And the wafts of fresh rosemary as everything cooks? Just dreamy.

What’s Farinata?

Farinata di ceci is an oven-baked flatbread made using a combination of chickpea flour, water, extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

top view of slices farinata top with rosemary leaves

This unleavened flatbread has supposedly been around since Roman times. But its first appearance dates back to a Genoese voyage during the Battle of Meloria in 1284.

It’s said that an enormous tempest hit the Genoese ships and caused their oil and barrels of chickpea flour to spill out onto the decks.

Because of the saltwater from the ocean, these ingredients were mixed together and dried under the hot sun.

As the sailors couldn’t exactly weigh anchor to grab food supplies at the time, they hungrily scarfed down on the chickpea pancakes created by seawater.

The paste itself wasn’t overly palatable. But the dried-out paste? Surprisingly delicious!

Once the sailors reached land, they played around with the recipe to create what we now call farinata.

Although this dish was created in Genoa, the Republic of Genoa was a huge maritime and commercial power until 1797.

So, they brought their famous chickpea-based flatbreads to the Cote d’Azur (where it’s called socca!), the Tuscan Coast, and Sardinia before it eventually took the world by storm.

Ingredients

  • Chickpea flour: You can make your own chickpea flour for the freshest flavor. But store-bought varieties work just as well.
  • Cold water: Helps build a smooth and fairly liquid batter that’s easy to work with.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: Try to use a high-quality oil to coat your skillet as it’ll prevent sticking. Extra virgin varieties are also low in saturated fats and loaded with antioxidants, vitamin E, and vitamin K!
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Rosemary (optional): Traditional farinata doesn’t have rosemary. But you’ll often find regional Italian bakeries that add a hint of fresh rosemary to their batter. It’s delicious and adds a subtle earthiness to this recipe.
farinata ingredients, chickpea flour, olive oil, salt, black pepper, rosemary

How to Make

  1. Mix the ingredients: In a mixing bowl, add the garbanzo bean flour, water, and salt. The ideal water-to-chickpea ratio is around 3:1 by weight, so be careful with your measurements! Slowly add the water to the flour and salt and whisk. You’ll want to achieve a thin, smooth, and watery batter.
  1. Let the batter stand: When the batter reaches the right consistency, cover it with a lid, plate, or towel. Farinata batter is traditionally left to rest overnight as it helps to hydrate the chickpea flour and get the fermentation process started (for easier digestion!). This is exactly how the bakeries in Italy do it. But if you can’t leave it overnight, 3 hours is enough time to let the batter rest for a good result.
  1. Preheat the oven: Once you’ve rested the chickpea batter, preheat the oven to 480F (250C) and position the oven rack in the middle. You need the oven hot as farinata usually bakes at a scorching 530-570F (280-300C) temperature in wood ovens. Whacking the oven temperature up and turning on the broiler should give your pancakes that signature golden-brown crust.
  2. Prepare the skillet: While your oven is heating up, pour olive oil into a 12-inch cast iron skillet, round baking tin, or oven-safe skillet. Make sure you thoroughly coat the bottom and sides with a brush. Don’t use parchment paper, as the oil is key for achieving that gorgeously crispy top and bottom!
  1. Cook the batter: After giving the farinata mixture a good stir, pour it into your hot skillet. The even layer of batter should be around ½ inch thick maximum. Be careful not to make it too thick, or it just won’t crisp up.
farinata batter added in a skillet
  1. Add the rosemary (optional): If you want to add rosemary to this recipe, now is the time to sprinkle that herby goodness on top of your farinata mix! Simply remove some rosemary leaves and place them on top of the batter.
top view of farinata batter in skillet top with rosemary leaves
  1. Bake the farinata: Bake the farinata for 10 minutes. Then, turn on the broiler and cook it for another 5 minutes until it’s golden and the top of the farinata is crispy. It might still feel slightly soft in the middle, but don’t worry! This is exactly how it’s meant to be.
  2. Remove from the oven: Take your skillet out of the oven and sprinkle it with a generous amount of black pepper (freshly ground is always best!). Farinata is best eaten hot out of the oven. So, serve it warm with a chunk of cheese, some focaccia, dipped in some pesto, or with some comforting turmeric chickpea soup, and enjoy!
hand picking a slice of farinata from a skillet

What’s the Difference Between Socca and Farinata?

Socca and farinata are essentially the same things.

They are both chickpea pancakes that are made using chickpea flour, salt, and extra virgin olive oil.

The only difference is that farinata is the original name for the recipe that was created in Genoa. Socca is what folks in the French Riviera call it!

Serving Suggestions

Farinata is quite filling, and this recipe yields 8 slices.

One slice should be enough for a snack or a light meal. 

But you can easily have 2 slices each if you’re tucking into this dish as a family of 4!

If you’re wondering what to serve with farinata, this dish works beautifully with warming fall soups and as a vegan sandwich filling. I love to use it as a substitute for frittata in this incredibly delicious breakfast sandwich.

TIP: Ideally, you’ll want to each farinata with some grains like a slice of focaccia or some wholegrain bread. This will help you to absorb more proteins, as legumes and cereals contain complementary amino acids.

hand holding a farinata slice
This is the perfect thickness for a farinata slice!

How to Store

To keep your farinata fresh, allow it to cool before storing it in an airtight container in the fridge. It should be good for up to a week.

If you want, you can also use some parchment paper to keep each slice separate.

To bring your farinata back to life, pop it in a hot oven at 400F for around 5 or 6 minutes and serve immediately.

Why I Love Farinata

  • It’s a crowd-pleasing side dish.
  • Super easy to make and perfect for beginners.
  • It’s entirely gluten-free and vegan!
  • It’s a healthy addition to soups and salads, but it’s also nutritious enough to enjoy as a quick snack with hummus!
  • It’s made with inexpensive ingredients that you can grab anywhere.
top view of a close up farinata slice

More Chickpea Recipes You’ll Love

If you love the heartiness of classic chickpea recipes, then you’ll adore these picks that are perfect for this time of year.

If you try this Farinata (Socca) recipe, please leave a comment and a rating and let me know how much you liked it!

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Farinata (Socca)

This farinata recipe is packed with tons of plant-based protein and pairs perfectly with soups, salads, and curries. This popular street food is also satisfying, easy to prepare, and so good when served straight out of the oven!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Rest Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 20 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 8 Slices
Calories: 104kcal
Author: Sara Trezzi

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 2/3 cups cold water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil - extra virgin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Rosemary - optional – see note 1
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, add the chickpea flour, water, and salt. Add the water slowly while whisking to form a smooth, thin, and watery batter.
  • Cover with a lid, a plate, or a towel, and let the butter stand for at least 3 hours at room temperature (note 2).
  • After resting time, if there is still a bit of foam on the surface, remove it with a spoon (removing the foam helps to create an even crust and prevents it from burning in the oven).
  • Preheat the oven to 480F (250C) and position the rack in the middle (note 3).
  • Pour the olive oil into a 12-inch cast iron skillet or a 12-inch round baking tin or oven-safe skillet and thoroughly coat the bottom and sides with a brush (do not use parchment paper – farinata needs to crisp on top and the bottom, so it does need oil).
  • Give another good stir to the batter, and gently pour it into the oiled skillet. The batter should be around ½ inch thick (1cm) maximum, as farinata needs to be wide and thin (so you get lots of crusty top on each slice).
  • If you add rosemary, sprinkle some leaves on top of the farinata.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then turn on the broiler and cook for another 5 minutes until it is golden and crispy on top (it’s ok if it still feels soft in the middle).
  • Remove from the oven, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, let it cool for a few minutes, and serve while still warm (note 4).

Notes

Note 1: The traditional farinata doesn’t have rosemary, but you can often find regional bakeries that add a hint of rosemary to their batter, and I find it delicious.
Note 2: Traditionally, the batter is left to rest overnight. This helps to hydrate the chickpea flour and starts a fermentation process that makes the chickpeas more digestible and enhances their nutritional value.
Note 3: Farinata must be cooked at the hottest temperature to form its signature crispy crust. It’s typically cooked at 530-570F (280-300C) in bakeries. That’s why we need to bring our oven to its maximum temperature and turn on the broiler to give it the right kick.
Note 4: Farinata is best eaten hot out of the oven. That’s how it’s served in the best bakeries in Italy.
The perfect ratio of water to chickpea flour is 3:1 by weight (so for 100g of chickpea flour, you’ll want to use 300g/ml of water).
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate per slice. 

Nutrition

Calories: 104kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Sugar: 2g

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