Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Poor Me- Lucky You!

Farinata di Topinambur, Farina di Ceci, Olive & Salami Piccante
Gram Flour Farinata with Jerusalem Artichokes, Olives & Spicy Salami

Another quick and easy example of "cucina povera", or "poor people's cooking"- but one that tastes incredibly good, is a simple "farinata"- a flat, pancake/flatbread kind of affair made of humble and wholesome chickpea flour. 

A wonderful thing a farinata! But as I am not all THAT poor after all, I decided to add a couple of little extras into mine to make it better still!

I made this totally un-typical version (the classic is made purely from chickpea flour, with maybe a little rosemary or olive oil added)- using Jerusalem artichoke to add moisture and flavor. 

To make one pan-sized serving, I needed about 1 teacup of chickpea flour, 2 small Jerusalem artichokes, 1 shallot, a few thin slices of spicy salami, 3-4 black olives, 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds, a little fresh parsley, salt, pepper and olive oil.

Farinata becomes crispy on the outside whilst remaining moist on the inside- especially in this version using the juicy Jerusalem artichokes- but the great thing about it is the hearty, chickpea flavor that makes it so irresistible and delicious!

Begin by peeling and then finely grating the chokes. You will find that they discolor rather quickly- but that's not a problem- once they are grated the rest of the preparation is very quick to do!

But make sure to have your oven turned on and heating up before you do that!

Next, add the chickpea flour into the mix- you want roughly equal quantities of chokes and flour. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt, about a teaspoon of fennel seeds, the finely chopped parsley and a grind of pepper and stir everything together into a paste. It should have the consistency of a rather lumpy mashed potato.

Next, add a little water, just to dilute the flour a little bit more and to turn the paste into a thick batter- and then you are ready to pour it into your frying pan and spread it out evenly. Make sure to have a little olive oil in the pan to keep it from sticking.

Lay out the thinly sliced salami, shallot and olives on top nice and evenly and press them down with the back of a wooden spoon- then pop your pan onto the stovetop and let it begin to cook and sizzle away at a moderate heat for 3-4 minutes. 

Press the sides inwards from the outer edge, as you would a frittata, to make it a more compact shape as it begins to firm-up from below. And after around 5 minutes on the stove top, you can transfer it to a hot oven- at 210°C or so, for the next 10-15 minutes.

Bake until lightly golden, then remove briefly to brush the surface with a little olive oil, then return and turn on the broiler to give it that last, crunchy, finishing touch!

As I said- lovely, simple, inexpensive food... but delicious!

And a wonderful alternative to either a frittata or a quiche... it's always great to try something a little different- don't you agree? wink emoticon

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