Farinata with Braised Leeks

Farinata with Braised Leeks

by Josiah Meldrum

Farinata is a simple but delicious street food from northwest Italy, made by baking or frying chickpea flour batter at a high heat to make an unleavened savoury 'pancake'. The appealing but presumably apocryphal story of its origin is that Roman soldiers first cooked farinata on a shield.

This farinata recipe was inspired by Camilla Saulsbury's brilliant book The Chickpea Flour Cookbook: Healthy Gluten-Free and Grain-Free Recipes to Power Every Meal of the Day.

Although traditionally made with chickpea flour, this recipe would work well with any of our pulse flours. To get the best results it's well worth leaving the batter to stand for as long as possible. If you can cover your bowl of batter with a tea towel and leave it for 24 hours at room temperature; like a sourdough starter it'll begin to spontanously ferment - nothing dramatic, just a few small bubbles. Allowing the batter to do this will bring new, much more complex flavours to your batter and the things you make from it.

Serves 3 to 4


For the farinata
For the leeks
  • 3 to 4 Leeks
  • 250ml Vegetable Stock
  • 2 Fresh Red Chillies, chopped in half lengthwise seeds removed
  • 3 to 4 Cloves of Garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp Dried Oregano 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 


For the farinata
  1. In a bowl combine the chickpea flour, salt, 3 tbsp oil and water. Wisk until smooth, then cover and leave to soak for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat your oven to 250C or it's highest setting.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large cast iron skillet or oven-proof frying pan. Place in the oven for 10 mins or until the oil is very hot.
  4. Remove from the oven and pour in the batter. Return to the oven to cook for 12 minutes.
  5. Open the oven door to release steam from the oven and bake for a further 7 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove the farinata from the pan and cut.
For the leeks
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Prepare your leeks by removing the outer layers, lengthwise cut the leeks halfway and run under cold water to remove any grit or dirt. Chop into 10cm / 4in chunks and add to a roasting pan - ideally the leeks should be a snug fit in the pan.
  3. Add the garlic, chillies, oregano, pour over the stock and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cover the pan tightly with foil and place in the oven for 25 mins or until the leeks are tender.
  5. Uncover and return to the oven to brown for 10 mins.

Josiah Meldrum
Josiah Meldrum


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