At one point over the past few months I was flipping through a food magazine in line at the grocery store checkout register, and something caught my eye. It was the mention of a savory Italian pancake known as farinata, which drew me in because 1) I love savory breakfasts 2) I love savory pancakes in particular (hello, okonomiyaki), and 3) traditional Italian food is amazing 99.9% of the time. I don’t remember the publication it was in, but the concept of it intrigued me enough that I popped the name of the dish into the notes app on my phone so I wouldn’t forget it. Farinata. It sounded pleasant and slightly fancy, but what super intrigued me was the fact that it was made pretty much entirely with chickpea flour, which made it gluten-free and also super protein-heavy and filling. I’ve been on a bit of a chickpea bender this past year, and have been roasting them and eating them in tacos, as a snack, and pureeing them into soups to make them heartier. Chickpeas’ flavor is kind of like that of green peas, but nuttier and earthier, and I’m obsessed with them.
So, I decided to make it this autumn, but wanted to include some of my favorite flavors of fall in it, too. I mixed some fresh rosemary and thyme from the garden into the batter, and topped the finished pancake with some roasted heirloom winter squash (you can use butternut, pumpkin, blue hubbard…really any winter squash works great), caramelized some onions, and then garnished it with some plain Greek yogurt and fresh pomegranate seeds. The result was the tastiest dish I’ve made so far this fall. The perfect balance of nuttiness, sweetness, richness, and tanginess. Definitely a comfort food kinda dish; the kind of thing that just makes you want to curl up in a thick comfy sweater inside by the fire. And a huge thanks to the folks at Orvis for letting me get cozy in their *insanely* comfy wool & cashmere donegal turtleneck. Highly recommend investing in one for a go-to comfy and pretty winter sweater 😀
The other thing I really like about this is how versatile it is, too. You can top the finished farinata with absolutely anything—sautéed spinach, feta cheese, cooked sausage, roasted tomatoes and burrata…the list of tasty things you can place atop it goes on and on. One thing to keep in mind when making this, though, is that you need to let the chickpea flour rest with the water for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours. This is going to ensure that it stays nice and moist. Texture-wise, the longer they sit together the more custardy the texture of the farinata becomes. So for a firmer farinata, let it sit closer to 4 hours, and for a softer one, let it sit for 12. I like making this for breakfast and topping it with poached eggs and sautéed veggies, in which case I just mix it up before bed, cover it, and let it sit overnight (aka 12 hours) before cooking it then next morning.