Farinata or socca is an easy recipe made by mixing chickpea flour and extra virgin olive oil, then baking it in the oven for about 20 minutes.
It's the perfect appetizer and snack and accommodates most diets as it's gluten-free and vegan. So let's see how to make it!
Check out our best vegan appetizers recipes collection!
Farinata is an Italian chickpea flour flatbread recipe known as "socca" in the southeastern part of France and "fainè" in Sardinia.
According to the legend, farinata was made for the first time in 1284, when Genoa defeated Pisa in the battle of Meloria.
The Genoese galleys, loaded with prisoners, found themselves in a bad storm with big waves.
In the turmoil of the storm, some barrels of oil and sacks of chickpeas spill and soak quickly in saltwater.
Since food was scarce, the sailors were given bowls of pureed chickpeas and olive oil. However, some sailors refused to eat it and left the chickpea mash in the sun.
After a few hours, the sun dried the mixture into a kind of flat pancake.
The next day, driven by hunger, the sailors ate the chickpea pancake and were surprised by its deliciousness.
Months after returning from the sea, the Genoese improved the recipe and began cooking the chickpea puree in the oven.
The meal was an instant success in town, and to mock the defeated town of Pisa, farinata was called "Pisan gold."
From there, the dish spreads to Tuscany, where it's called cecina, and to the French Riviera, where it is called socca.
Also known as garbanzo bean flour or "gram flour," and is the main ingredient for socca. You can't replace it with regular wheat flour.
We tried replacing it with fava bean flour and red lentil flour, which worked quite well.
Extra virgin olive oil
We recommend using extra virgin olive oil because it has a richer, more aromatic flavor that goes well with the chickpea flavor. Of course, you can replace it with regular olive oil, but the flavor won't be as rich and aromatic.
Tap water is perfectly fine.
Salt and pepper
As per tradition, we add salt to the batter while grinding black pepper on top of the farinata before serving it.
After cooking, sprinkle your farinata with freshly chopped parsley or rosemary.
I recommend using a blender (immersion or regular) to blend the chickpea batter. This way, you don't have to wait hours for the flour to hydrate.
Don't have a blender? You can easily use a whisk or a fork, but make sure to dissolve the flour in the water entirely.
I use a baking tray 11 inches or 28cm in diameter. Alternatively, you can use a cast-iron skillet.
Make the batter
Preheat the oven to 480°F or 250°C. Add chickpea flour, salt, and water to a bowl and blend with an immersion blender for 3 to 5 minutes till completely smooth. You can also use a regular blender.
If you don't have a blender, you can use a whisk or a fork, but make sure that the flour is fully dissolved in the water, and ideally, let it sit for an hour.
Note that some people add oil to the batter, but this is not strictly necessary since we will add quite a bit of oil to the baking tray later on.
Transfer onto baking tray
Prep your baking tray, oven-safe skillet, or iron-cast pan. Add the olive oil and distribute it evenly.
There should be enough olive oil to fully cover the tray's bottom. It is a crucial step, or your farinata will stick to the tray.
TIP: tilt the tray, and you should see a small "wave" that the olive oil creates while it runs from one side of the tray to the other.
You could use parchment paper instead of oil on the tray, but in this case, you need to add the oil to the batter. The thing is, a socca without oil is just not good.
With a spoon, remove some foam from the chickpea batter's top. We do this because the foam tends to burn in the oven.
Now, gently pour the chickpea batter into the center of the baking tray, but over a spoon first, and not pour directly into the tray.
Pouring directly from the bowl and into the baking tray will displace the oil, and your socca will stick.
TIP: make sure the batter is about ¼ of an inch or 0.6 mm thick.
You should see some of the oil on top of the chickpea batter at this stage. It is perfectly normal.
You can distribute the oil by moving it around gently with the back of a spoon. But don't let the back of the spoon touch the bottom of the baking tray. Instead, glide gently on the surface of the batter.
Bake in the oven at 480°F or 250°C for 10 minutes, then set your oven to broiler mode and broil the farinata for another 10 minutes.
It should be well cooked, golden and crispy on top, and soft and smooth on the bottom.
Take out of the oven, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, and serve.
Farinata is best eaten hot, straight out of the oven.
The traditional way of eating it is simple, with a sprinkle of salt and a couple of twists of freshly ground black pepper. You can also eat it in two slices of bread or focaccia. But we also love:
- As a starter: serve it with olives, vegan pesto, tapenade, grilled vegetables, or even better, with our eggplant caponata or confit tomatoes.
- As a dinner: paired with a variety of vegetables for a buffet-style dinner. Serve with seasonal veggies; roasted Brussel sprouts, bell pepper, broccoli, or artichokes.
Inspired by this recipe, we created two main variations of farinata:
Zucchini pie without egg: an onion and zucchini filling made with chickpea flour and coated by a thin layer of dough.
Frittata without eggs: crisp on the outside, soft and moist on the inside; this eggless frittata isvery close to the real deal.
More Chickpea Flour Recipes
- Use a blender: blending the chickpea batter will allow you to cook it immediately, without letting it rest for several hours to hydrate.
- Pour over a spoon: don't pour directly into the baking tray, but over a spoon first to not displace the oil on the tray. This way, your farinata won't stick.
- Remove some of the foam that forms on top of the chickpea batter. It tends to burn in the oven.
They are essentially the same thing, except that farinata is the original dish that originated in Genoa (Italy), which is not too far from Nice, where socca is from.
The same dish became popular across what is now called the French Riviera, up to Nice. Back then, however, Nice was not part of France.
From the 7th century, Nice was part of the Genoese league and later was part of the Duchy of Savoy till 1860, where Italian was spoken as the primary language.
It's easy to imagine that the close relations of Nice with what is now modern Italy contributed to some spillovers of recipes and culinary traditions.
Farinata or socca is best eaten hot, straight out of the oven. If you have some leftovers, store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Then, warm it in the oven or the microwave before eating it.
You can also freeze farinata for up to 2 months, then thaw ad warm up again before eating it.
For many more starter ideas, make sure to check out our starters category page.
- 1 cup chickpea flour or garbanzo bean flour
- 1½ cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 twists black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 480°F or 250°C. Add chickpea flour, salt, and water to a bowl and blend with an immersion blender for 3 to 5 minutes till completely smooth. You can also use a regular blender. With a spoon, remove some of the foam from the top of the chickpea batter. We do this because the foam tends to burn in the oven.
- Add the oil to the baking sheet and spread it out evenly.You could use baking paper instead of oil on the baking sheet, but in that case, you'd have to add the oil to the batter. The thing is, a socca without oil is not going to be good.
- Gently pour the chickpea batter into the center of the pan or skillet, but first over a spoon and not pour directly into the pan. Pouring directly from the bowl into the pan will displace the oil, and the socca will stick.
- Bake at 480F (250C) for 10 minutes, then set your oven to grill mode and grill the farinata for another 10 minutes. It should be well cooked, golden and crispy on top, and soft and smooth on the bottom.
- Remove from oven, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and serve.Farinata is best eaten hot, right out of the oven.