Made with chickpea flour, water and olive oil, versions of this dish have existed in the Med since greek civilisation and possibly earlier. Farinata as we know it today traces its origins to the aftermath of a naval battle between Genoa and Pisa in the middle ages. A boat laden with captured slaves, encountered a strong storm, breaking a few sacks of chickpea flour and barrels of olive oil, which mixed with the salty sea water. As much flour as possibile was saved and this mix was given to the slaves, who, quite naturally refused to eat it. Left on deck, it dried in the sun and driven by hunger the slaves discovered that this Farinata was actually rather good.
Sieve the flour in a large bowl, making a small crater in the middle. Slowly incorporate the water, making sure there aren’t any lumps forming. Let it rest for 2 to 4 hours, skimming any impurities that may rise to the top. Add 6 tablespoons of olive oil, a very large pinch of salt, mix well.
Heat the oven to 240°C, then pour the remaining oil into a large heavy based pan (one that can go into the oven, so definitely avoid non-stick), and place into the oven to heat up. As soon as it starts smoking, take it out and pour your mix evenly in the pan. You don’t want the Farinata to be too high – 3 cm tops.
Cook for about 10 minutes – the top should be crispy, while the inside still soft. Add a bit of flaky salt and freshly milled pepper on the top. Serve hot.