lunedì 28 maggio 2007
Farinata with Nettles
Farinata is a typical vegan italian dish from the Ligurian region, North-east of Italy. It is made from chick-pea flour, water and olive oil and it is usually baked. I cook it in a pan because it is quicker and it's just as nice.
This time I also added some nettles that I picked myself in Montalto, on the hills near Reggio Emilia. They taste very much like spinach. I picked them using rubber gloves.
There are two common types of nettles in Europe: Urtica Urens and Urtica Dioica, you can eat both. It is better to pick them before June, when the leaves are tender. You have to pick the top leaves like in the above picture, once you are at home you should keep the leaves and discard the stems. Wash, drain and cook in very little water for a few minutes.
Now let's prepare the Farinata, a wonderful egg substitute but without cholesterol, saturated fats and cruelty (like useless male chicks minced alive, I will write about this very soon).
For a basic Farinata, you can only add a little salt and dried rosemary, but if you feel like it, you can add spinach, rocket salad or french beans...; always shredded and stir fried before you add them to the chick-pea mixture....
Ingredients for 3/4 people:
Chick-pea flour 10 oz
Nettles (o other vegetables)
1 Onion (optional)
Mix the flour with a little water at a time and be careful not to make lumps. You should have a liquid pastry. Set aside.
Chop an onion and fry it in a little oil and add to the flour mixture.
Cook the nettles in very little water for a few minutes, drain, chop and add to the flour mixture.
You can keep this pastry in the fridge for 2 or 3 days, so you can make an instant Farinata when you come home in the evenings.
Now it is time to cook this nice Farinata:
Place a pan on a medium heat and wait 2 or 3 minutes until it's really hot.
Add a drop of olive oil (it will make bubbles) and a ladle of liquid pastry, turning the pan trying to spread it well.
Wait until you can turn the "pancake" with a wooden spatula, cook on te other side. Do the same with another ladle of mixture.
- The first "pancake" tends to break up, nevermind, the others will be better, I think this is because the pan is not heated properly.
- The pan should never give off fumes, so try and keep a lower temperature.
- Make little pancakes so it is easier to turn them in the pan.