( MAKES enough for 4-6 )
Faina is a smooth food resembling polenta that is made from chickpeas rather than corn. In Italy “panizza ceci” is also known as farinata, but in Genoa it’s called faina. In France it’s called socca. Versions of this are made around the Mediterranean and Ligurian Seas, often baked in the pizza oven at the end of the night as it’s cooling (along with castagnaccio, another style of flatbread made from chestnut flour and found in Tuscany, Liguria, Northern Italy and Corsica). Make it and leave to cool, then you can either cut into fingers and deep-fry until golden and serve with dips, or keep it whole and spread with cheese, lightly stewed sliced tomatoes and caramelised onions and garlic and bake till bubbly and serve like a soft pizza. Or simply grill oiled slices and serve as you might polenta with roast chicken, lamb leg or pork chops.
This recipe was taken from Peter Gordon's feature on chickpea flour.
- Sieve the flour, five spice, pepper and salt.
- Whisk in 100ml of the water/stock to make a paste.
- Bring the remaining liquid to the boil then reduce to a rapid simmer and gently whisk in the paste, stirring the whole time.
- The mixture will begin to bubble and pop like porridge or polenta. Cook over a medium low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a spoon.
- Mix in the butter then tip out on to a lightly oiled main course plate and flatten a little. Leave to cool, then cut into wedges or pieces and serve as described above.