Monday, March 28, 2011

Cecina- chickpea flour flatbread

Recently it has become evident to me that I can no longer cook the way I used to. I was feeling sort of bad about this as if I had become less of a cook, but now I'm embracing this change because I know it's temporary. Before Roman was born I spent most of my free time planning, shopping and executing elaborate, multiple course meals for friends. Those meals were my creative and social outlet. My favorite pass-time. Now my focus in life has changed and in the kitchen I gravitate towards quick and simple recipes because my attention is being pulled in other directions.

A friend brought over a plate of flat bread made from chickpea flour called cecina (pronounced tche-tcheena). I was excited to discover another use for chickpea flour since the sformato I made last year. Plain and simple, but also tasty and healthy, cecina is a flatbread made of chickpea flour, olive oil, water and salt. It has been eaten for centuries in many different parts of Italy and the Mediterranean and goes by different names including farinata di ceci, and calda calda. It is well known in Tuscany and Liguria but is also eaten in Sardinia and as far away as Morocco where they add egg.

Makes two 22 cm (8 inch) flatbreads

Cecina can be made plain or you can add rosemary, chopped onion, sliced artichoke before baking it. Even plain, it's great as a snack, aperitivo, or to pack in the picnic to the park or the beach. For lunch, top with ham, cheese and avocado for an open face sandwich. The recipes I found on line all said the mixture must sit for a few hours before baking, so be sure to plan ahead. You could use a jelly roll pan and make one large flatbread, which would yield a slightly thinner flatbread.

8 ounces (250 grams) chickpea flour
3 cups (700 ml) water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 scant teaspoons salt

Sift the chickpea flour into a bowl containing the 3 cups of water, stirring to combine and prevent any lumps. Let this sit for three hours. After this time, stir in the olive oil and the salt. Grease two 8 inch baking tins and divide the batter between the two (it will be very liquid.) Bake at 425 (220 c) for about 15 minutes, or longer to brown the top slightly.


  1. It is sometimes frustrating to not be able to have the time or concetration to make something a little more elaborate but of course I would never exchange the experience of raising my children with anything else. As you say, the day will come when we will have all the time we want on our hands and we will so miss the pudgy, dimpled little hands. In Sicily they make a kind of cecina called panelle, they are like pancakes made with chickpea flour. I think this recipe and its numerous variations has been around since the Roman times, if not before that. I always find such ancient recipes really fascinating.

  2. This looks gorgeous! I may have to track down some chickpea flour to try to make it.

  3. i am completely like you! I would spend HOURS, I mean DAYS, in the kitchen preparing meals to feed everyone I know...but I am slowing down, to enjoy the simple surroundings and the people I really care about.
    This is an interesting dish...I never quite took to its taste, but I am sure that it would be great with a nice tart and juicy salad.

  4. I cannot believe it! I was just thinking about this! What we call infarinata, I think, and I ws wondering where I could find a recipe for it! Yay! We used to buy slices of this in Milan and simply loved it. Thanks so much for the recipe! xo

  5. Fortunately for me I have a big back of chickpea flour in the pantry just dying to be used! You've got a new follower ;)

  6. Come pick up your blog award and start the week with a smile.

  7. This looks like socca the crêpe made in Nice and sold in the street/ Want to make it at home!


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