Lemon Asparagus Farinata (Chickpea Flatbread)

Ah asparagus, kingpin of fleeting seasonal veggies—when its tender green spears shoot from the English soil straight into the canvas totes of rabidly early farmers market risers, everyone knows it’s the month of May. How did a year manage to happen so sneakily since I last made a quiche out of these stalks?

Lemon Asparagus FarinataLemon Asparagus Farinata

These weeks have been blurring into one massively busy blessing, and although it seems silly, produce availability anchors each fleeting month to the grander annual context. Why has all the spinach been looking wilty? Since when have juicy pears been hard to find for grab-and-go breakfasts? Shouldn’t I be able to taste some sweet strawberries with my pitcher of Pimm’s soon?

Lemon Asparagus Farinata

Farinata, also known by alternative names depending on geographic location (e.g. socca, cecina, fainâ), is a dish most associated with the Ligurian Coast of Italy—that’s between the Riviera and the island of Corsica. It’s a rather humble unleavened bread made with a loose batter of chickpea flour, water, and olive oil, seasoned with not much more than rosemary. Depending on the size of tin you use and the amount of batter, the flatbread pancake can lie anywhere on a sliding scale of thick and chewy to thin and crispy. I like mine somewhere in between, and chickpea flour lends a toothsome savouriness at whichever end of the spectrum.

Lemon Asparagus Farinata

Italian variations include artichoke, onion, and whitebait, French socca features plenty of fresh black pepper, Algerian karantita adds a kick of cumin and harissa, but scatter in some shaved English asparagus and you have a seasonal delicacy fit for Mayday celebrations.

Lemon Asparagus Farinata

Lemon Asparagus Farinata

  • ⅓ cup chickpea flour (socca)
  • ⅔ cup cold water
  • ½ t sea salt
  • 1 ½ T olive oil
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • lemon zest
  • 3 spears asparagus, shaved
  • black pepper, freshly ground

Whisk chickpea flour, water, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a bowl before covering and letting rest at room temperature for about 4 hours.
Turn oven to 475ºF/250ºC and preheat a sheet pan with some olive oil.
When pan and oil are hot, pour in the batter and scatter over shaved asparagus and lemon zest.
Return to oven for 15-20 minutes, until farinata is golden and crisp. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and freshly grated black pepper.

Lemon Asparagus Farinata

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10 Responses to Lemon Asparagus Farinata (Chickpea Flatbread)

  1. Hello Irina. This is such good timing to see your post. Two days ago I prepared something very similar called Karantita, we loved it. Have you heard of it? I plan on making it again and will try your recipe using lemon and asparagus and minus the egg. Your photographs are always so lovely as well as your story telling. This is the karantita post, take a look if you get a chance. http://lapetitepaniere.com/2014/04/29/karantita-garantita/

    good day. Seana

  2. Trixpin says:

    I’ve never heard of farinata before – it looks like a very useful way to use things up, as well as being a delicious snack in its own right. I love the look of your asparagus quiche too with its really interesting pastry!

  3. Mary Frances says:

    I’ve never heard of this either, but that is what I love about your blog – I learn so much! And I get very hungry :) Our produce has been pretty good, occasionally some not so pretty fruit, but most of the time it has been wonderful. I haven’t had asparagus this year though – changing that asap!

  4. Liz says:

    I have never eaten Farinata but I’ve gone through the recipe and it seems easy and straightforward to make. I shall be trying it soon. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I have never seen anything like this! It looks really interesting! I am going to have to give it a try, I love that it is naturally gluten free!

  6. Shu says:

    Brilliant idea to shave the asparagus first. Was wondering how on earth it would sit in a flatbread. I’m actually doing this I think.. maybe next weekend. Everything about it I like- chickpeas, essentially gluten-free flatbread, (shaved!) asparagus, lemon and olive oil. If I find time to I’ll definitely check back in.

    p.s. Where do you get your spinach and strawberries from?! I’ve had my first glass of Pimm’s 3 days back. When I say glass I mean pitcher. SO GOOD. Hello summer.

  7. I first heard of chickpea flatbread a couple years ago and after how easy and quick it was to make, I vowed I’d make it regularly…but I totally forgot about it! Thanks for the reminder…and the lovely recipe :)

  8. rika@vm says:

    What a perfect looking farinata – my partner loves socca when he spent a lot of time in France as a teenager. and it is usually vegan-friendly. These aspagarus spears look so elegant in the farinata! I need to make some farinata, thank you for the inspiration, Irina!

  9. The best socca I’ve ever tasted was at at little stand at the Nice market with plenty of black pepper on top. Your asparagus version sounds like a lovely update to an old favorite!

  10. I am 100% going to try this this week. Socca is something I’ve been meaning to make for a long time and now I’ve seen yours with the asparagus, I’m definitely going to! I will let you know how it turns out :-)

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