Recipe

Farinata with chard & cobnut pesto

by Tom Hunt

Italian chickpea pancake topped with pesto and creamy butterbeans

Farinata is a type of pizza or pancake made with chickpea flour instead of wheat flour. The finished product is soft in texture, with a savoury, full taste. This recipe works well with any number of different toppings, just like pizza—use the batter as a base recipe to experiment with your own seasonal toppings. Here, I serve it with chard and cobnut pesto and butter beans.

Although traditionally pesto is made with basil, it can be made with any green leafy brassica or herb—this pesto is a variation on a recipe that I learnt from a close friend. If you have any carrot tops, they make a good waste-saving addition.

Butter beans are creamy, satisfying and have a slight funk to them that reminds me of goat’s cheese. I use them in this recipe to replace it, making this dish vegan.

Ingredients

For the farinata:
75g chickpea flour
200ml water
50ml extra virgin olive oil
Chard pesto to serve (optional)
100g boiled butter beans to serve (optional)

For the chard and cobnut pesto:
50g rainbow chard
75ml extra virgin olive oil
¼ lemon, juice and zest
½ small clove garlic, finely chopped
5g English cobnuts or hazelnuts, crushed
1 tsp nutritional yeast  

Method

At least 4 hours before you’d like to cook the farinata, pour the chickpea flour into a mixing bowl, add roughly a third of the water and combine, whisking out any lumps, then add another third and whisk again. Add the rest of the water and mix until smooth. Cover with a tea towel and leave for at least 4 hours.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. Finely chop the chard stalks and leaves, keeping the stalks separate. Blanch the stalks in a small pot of salted boiling water for 30 secs, then drain—if you are making this pesto for the farinata, keep them separate from the leaves to sprinkle on top, otherwise mix them into the pesto at the end.

You can either make pesto by pulse blending all the ingredients in a food blender, or smashing together in a pestle and mortar. If you decide to use a blender, don’t bypass finely chopping the chard first, as it creates a much nicer texture.

Preheat the oven to 180C. When the chickpea flour batter is ready, stir in just over half the olive oil. Pour the remaining olive oil onto a small baking tray or frying pan, about 23cm wide. Pour the chickpea mixture into the baking tray and give it a mix, stirring in the olive oil from the tray.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins, or until golden on top. Season with salt and pepper and serve plain or scattered with butterbeans, spoons of chard pesto and blanched chard stalks—they look like beautiful jewels.

Recipe: Tom Hunt