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. We’ve made this into a main meal by adding a delicious wild mushroom filling and a few other bits and pieces, but the crêpes are also delicious as a snack on their own.
For the farinata batter
175ml extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for cooking
125g chickpea flour
3 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
salt and pepper
For the filling
2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for the tomatoes
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 below)
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.
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.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven 200?C/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.
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.
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.
1 garlic bulb
a drizzle of olive oil
150g vegan mayonnaise
10 strands saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp water
Preheat the oven to 180?C/gas mark 4. 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. 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.
Extracted from Fresh Vegan Kitchen by Charlotte and David Bailey (Pavilion Books, approx €15). Photographs by Haarala Hamilton.