Farinata

Serves 8-10 as snacks
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Indy Lifestyle Online

This is one of the tastiest and simplest things I've eaten for a long time. It's best cooked in a brick oven; if you want to go that far there are several makes of wood-fired ovens on the market now. Apparently these are becoming very voguish; both Gwyneth Paltrow and Jamie Oliver have raved about the wood-burning stoves in their gardens made by Valoriani ( www.orchardovens.co.uk). Though it doesn't give it the authentic wood-fired flavour I've been getting good results with my Viking cooker. After all, as with pizza, most of us manage without a wood-fired oven for those. If you want to ring the changes in your farinata you can add variations like sliced onions or shallots to the mixture, or scatter them - with herbs like rosemary - on top.

1 litre water
2tsp salt
300g chickpea flour, sifted
100ml extra virgin olive oil

Put the water, salt and chickpea flour into a bowl with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir with a whisk to form a thick batter. Let the mixture stand at room temperature in a warmish place for 4-5 hours or, better still, overnight, as the mixture starts fermenting which gives the pancake a light, airy texture.

Pre-heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Heat a large, heavy frying pan on the stove until it's almost smoking. Brush the bottom generously with olive oil and pour in the mixture no more than two-thirds of a centimetre thick, turning the pan as you pour it to coat the bottom evenly. Scatter in any herbs or other flavourings you are using. The mixture will begin to bubble. Then transfer the pancake to the oven for 10-12 minutes until set and the edges are crispy. You can turn the farinata if you wish. Repeat with the rest of the mixture and serve warm, either on its own as a snack, or with some mixed antipasti or cheese.

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