Made with chickpea flour and olive oil, these traditional Italian pancakes are a wonderful option for vegans and those following a wheat and gluten-free diet. They’re also common in the south of France, where they’re known as socca and eaten as street food, cooked on huge tin-plated copper skillets and seasoned with just a little salt and pepper.
For the farinata batter
325ml cups water
175ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for cooking
125g chickpea flour (gram flour)
3 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Salt and pepper
For the filling
2 tbsp olive oil,plus a little extra for
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
150g wild mushrooms
(we love porcini), sliced
150g button mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper
½ bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus extra to garnish
For the rest
250g cherry tomatoes on the vine
4 handfuls of rocket
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 batch aioli (see recipe)
1 Put all the batter ingredients in a blender and combine for about 30 seconds on fast until smooth. Don’t worry if there are a few bubbles. Set aside to rest for about 30 minutes.
2 To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a pan, then add the onion and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes on a high heat. Add the mushrooms and seasoning and continue to sauté for a further 4–5 minutes. Finish off with the chopped parsley and set aside.
3 Meanwhile, preheat the oven 200?C/400?F/gas mark 6. Put the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper and roast for about 10 minutes until nicely coloured.
4 Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Pour one-quarter of the batter into the pan and swirl round to cover the base. Fry for a few minutes until golden, then flip over and fry the other side. Remove from the pan and keep warm while you repeat with the remaining batter.
5 Place the farinata on individual plates, spoon the mushroom filling on top, then fold over to cover. Sprinkle with a little paprika. Serve with the roasted tomatoes, some rocket an a spoonful of aioli.
FOR THE Aioli
• 1 garlic bulb
• A drizzle of olive oil
• 150g vegan mayonnaise
• 10 strands saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp water
1 Preheat the oven to 180?C/350?F/gas mark
2 Cut the garlic bulb in half horizontally, drizzle it generously with olive oil and put it on a baking sheet to roast for about 15 minutes. Remove the roasted garlic cloves from their shells – they should just fall out – and crush in a pestle and mortar.
3 Put the vegan mayonnaise in a bowl and mix in the roasted garlic, saffron strands and their soaking water, and mix to form a thick sauce. The aioli can be stored in the fridge for 4–6 days.
Fresh Vegan Kitchen by David & Charlotte Bailey, published by Pavilion Books
Photography by Haarala Hamilton.