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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Cecina (Chickpea Flatbread)

I am back from a 2 weeks holiday in the beautiful Tuscan countryside, where my family lives and where I was born and grew up. There are so many lovely things to eat there, I won't even attempt to make a list! Therefore, I am going to post a few recipes of what I have been cooking, just to give you an idea :-) This first one is a traditional dish only known within the Pisa/Livorno area, called "cecina". It is a sort of flatbread made with chickpea flour; it sounds peculiar, but it is incredibly flavoursome. The end result should be quite soft and moist inside, with a golden, crunchy crust on top; it can be eaten on its own, with just a sprinkle of ground black pepper, or as a filling for a focaccia bread roll (as shown in the other pictures in the post). Yes, bread within bread! It is really simple to make, so do give it a go if you want to try and Italian dish you won't find at your local Italian restaurant. The recipe is my dad's.

INGREDIENTS (makes 2 generous slices for 6/8 people)

  • 400 gr. ground chickpea flour
  • 1.2 l water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs olive oil
NOTE: the number of baking trays you use may vary depending on their size; when pouring your mixture in the baking tray, keep in mind it should not exceed the 0.5 cm of thickness. 

Get the chickpea flour and mix it well to the water and salt. Cover with a clean dishcloth and let it rest for at least a couple of hours. We used a pan simply because we didn't have a large enough mixing bowl handy
After this time, pre-heat your oven at 200° C. Tuscan wood-fired oven not necessary! ;-)
Divide the mixture between two non-stick baking trays, previously brushed with olive oil, and put them in the oven for about 15/20 minutes, depending on the temperature of your oven (it could be less). You know your cecina is ready when it will have formed its famous crunchy, golden crust (but it will still be soft to the touch).

Let it rest for about 10 minutes, then cut in slices and serve it on its on or sandwiched between focaccia rolls, not forgetting a good sprinkle of ground black pepper. The focaccia rolls in the picture below are my brother's!

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