Fermented Farinata

Farinata (Italy), Socca (France), or whatever its regional variation is generally made from chickpea flour and served as street food, a pancake or a deeper pancake, a bit like a frittata. It can be flavoured with spices and herbs and served alongside endless variations of toppings. I like the deep, roasted version which benefits so much from the fermenting time before cooking. Simply wait for the bubbles to appear on the surface of the batter to give you the clue that the flavour is developing - kitchen magic.

Serves 4

200g gram flour 

1 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon either black onion seeds, paprika or thyme 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying 


Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl and pour over 400ml of warm water, whisking all the time until the batter is smooth. Add the salt, spices and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Whisk again to combine. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside for at least 1 hour, or overnight for a more complex flavour. 


Preheat the oven to 220C. 


Grease a 20 x 30cm roasting tray well with olive oil and pour in an extra glug of oil to cover the base. Place in the hot oven to heat the oil and the tray for a couple of minutes. Whisk the batter to bring together. Carefully remove the hot tray from the oven and pour in the batter. At this stage, you can top with halved cherry tomatoes, olives, chopped rosemary, cheese or artichokes (or whatever else you’d like). Return to the oven for 25 minutes until golden on top and the mixture is set. 


Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes and slice into squares using a serrated knife. Use a fish slice to lift the pieces out. 


Alternatively, heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan until it shimmers. Pour in a ladleful of the batter and cook for 3 minutes each side over a medium-high heat. Top with roasted vegetables or salad.