WE’RE BACK JUST IN TIME FOR THE NEW YEAR to bring to you a little New Year snack.
Farinata is a thin Italian pancake made from chickpea flour (which means they happen to be gluten-free), and a great vehicle for all kinds of toppings: vegetables, meats, cheese, fruit—you name it, you can put it on top of farinata. Our version here has winter squash and arugula, but they’re also great topped with broccoli rabe and sausage or either of these crostini toppings, just for instance. So, basically it’s like a delicious plate that you can eat. Why would you put something on a plate when you could put it on a pancake instead?
These multitalented little pancakes cook up snap and can be even be made ahead of time, which makes them especially ideal as party appetizers or a side dish. (Though they also make a perfect light lunch.) A lot of other farinata recipes will tell you to let the batter sit for anywhere between 30 minutes and several hours, but the version here is adapted from Yotam Ottolengi whose recipe not only requires no wait time, but also uses egg whites, making them especially light.
Because these pancakes are thin and delicate, you’ll need to use a non-stick pan. We tried using a cast iron pan and a stainless one without success. In a non-stick skillet, though, you can carefully slip them onto a large spatula (which will prevent any flopping or breaking) to flip easily.
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Farinata with Winter Squash and Arugula
Makes 6 pancakes
Notes: To make these ahead of time, refrigerate the cooked farinata and squash mixture separately, otherwise things will get soggy. Top the farinata with the squash just before serving, and reheat in a 350° F oven, or even in a microwave, then garnish with the arugula.
For the squash we used Delicata, which peel easily with a vegetable peeler, but also don’t have to be peeled since the skin is thin and softens when cooked.
- A small non-stick skillet (we used a 6-inch one)
- Parchment paper
-Squash & Arugula Topping-
- 3 small squash 2¾-3 lbs, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Pinch of turmeric
- Salt, black pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 3/4 cups chickpea flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 tbs of olive oil + more for brushing the parchment paper and cooking
- 2 egg whites, whipped to soft peaks
To make the topping:
* Wash and dry a small bunch of arugula—enough for topping the farinata. Preheat oven to 375° F.
* On a baking sheet large enough to hold the squash in a single layer, toss the squash with a drizzle of olive oil and a little salt, black pepper, and turmeric.
* Roast the squash for 25-30 minutes until tender but not mushy. You want the cubes to hold their shape on the farinata.
* While the squash is roasting in the oven, caramelize the onions on the stove: heat a frying pan over medium heat and add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom.
* Add the onions. When they wilt, reduce the heat to medium low and cook until they become quite soft and caramelized.
* In a bowl, gently mix the onions and squash together. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Set aside.
To make the farinata:
* Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and brush the paper lightly with olive oil.
* Add the chickpea flour and salt to a bowl. Give it a quick whisk to blend, then pour in the olive oil and water. Whisk until smooth.
* Fold in the beaten egg whites with a spatula.
* Heat your non-stick pan over medium heat. Brush with olive oil.
* Pour a scant half a cup of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to evenly distribute.
* Cook for a couple of minutes until the farinata is set. Small bubbles will appear and the edges will look cooked (just like with regular breakfast pancakes).
* Carefully, flip the farinata over with a large spatula or by slipping onto a plate and flipping it, and cook for another minute or two.
* Remove the farinata to the baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining batter.
* Place a farinata on each plate, top with the squash mixture and arugula.
© 2017 Lee and Lou Cook. All rights reserved.