Farinata (Italian chickpea pancake) with slow cooked courgettes

27 Aug 2018

I absolutely love cookbooks (and I have far too many but never enough). I rarely follow a recipe though - what I love most is finding inspiration and new ideas to try. This particular recipe from Anna Jones' The Modern Cook's Year caught my eye for its double inspiration: two familiar ingredients/dishes - pancakes and courgettes - each given a new twist in a joint dish, though you could easily take each component and vary further as you please (for more ideas on the chickpea pancake theme see here and here).

Btw, chickpea flour is gluten free, and this is easily a vegan dish.

HOW TO

for the farinata:

150g chickpea (gram) flour,450ml water, 120ml of olive oil, 1 tsp salt

* this should be enough for 4 pancake servings, to vary quantities use 3x as much water (in ml) as flour (in g)

Whisk the flour with the water into a very watery batter (don't worry, it's meant to be like that).

Set aside for at least 20 mins, longer if you can (get going with the courgettes in the meantime).

When ready to cook, heat up the oven to 200C

Whisk in the olive oil and salt, add some herbs if you like.

Add some extra oil to a small pan and get it very hot on the hob, then add about 1cm of batter.

Let it sizzle briefly on the hob (a minute max), then put in the oven for about 15 min, until set and golden brown on top. It should be crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. It should come off the pan easily - keep warm while you make the next one.

TIP: If you have 2 same size pans you can bake 2 farinatas at once. If you have to feed more than 2 it saves time to bake it on a baking tray and cut into portion pieces once set (see second recipe link above).

 

for the courgettes:

courgettes, sliced

garlic, a clove or two, sliced or crushed

a small fennel bulb, finely sliced (optional, but works really well here if you have some to hand)

zest and juice of a lemon, olive oil, salt, black pepper

a handful of herbs (mint, basil or dill all work well here)

Put everything in a wide deep pan with a couple of glugs of olive oil and a very generous pinch of salt and fresh black pepper.

The salt will help draw juices out of the courgettes so avoid adding any extra water (if it threatens to stick at first, lower the heat and add just a spoonful of water; more juices will emerge soon enough).

Cook covered over a low heat for at least 40 mins, longer (up to 60 mins) if you can, stirring occasionally.

Add the herbs, and adjust with lemon juice and salt if necessary.

 

Serve the soft courgette mix on top of the farinata.

We like crumbling feta cheese on top - the original recipe suggest topping the courgettes with crisped up capers. Chopped olives, a drizzle of pesto or simply some torn basil leaves would work really well too.

 

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