Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chickpea Flat Bread from Tuscany

I have read about this interesting flat bread, called "cecina" in at least three Italian cook books. It is made of chickpea flour and olive oil and should be baked in a large shallow pan. The original recipe comes from northern Tuscany.

Cecina batter is greasy and liquid and very easy to make. However, it is important to remember to set it aside for at least an hour before putting it in an oven.

All kinds of bread, especially Italian, are very popular in my home. So the other day I bought a chickpea flour, which so far I used only in Indian recipes, and made my first cecina.

It came out very nice and crispy. It had a yellow color and a slightly "eggy" taste, although not a single egg was used to make it. No one could guess what this bread was made of but everyone enjoyed it.

Cecina could be served as an appetizer and makes a wonderful party snack to accompany a glass of wine. You can sprinkle it with rosemary or pepper flakes, but my favorite is the traditional version of it with sea salt and ground black pepper.

Chickpea Flat Bread

1 and 1/2 cup chickpea flour,
2 cups water,
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil,
1/2 tsp salt plus extra for sprinkling,
freshly ground black pepper.

1. Put the water and one tbsp olive oil in a bowl. Add chickpea flour and salt and mix everything until it makes a smooth batter. Let it rest for at least an hour or even overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 425 F.
3. Pour the remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil on a 12-inch metal pizza or shallow, non-stick baking pan. Stir the batter and pour it on the pan. It should not be more than a quarter inch high.

4. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until the bread is set and golden brown on top.
5. Remove the pan from the oven and when it is still hot sprinkle it with salt and pepper.

Serve it warm.