Farinata di ceci, a recipe for authentic street food
Farinata di ceci: a recipe of Ligurian origin, and a typical Italian street food of the Tyrrhenian coastal area and Sardinia. An early form of the recipe was cooked by Roman soldiers on their shields, while the Italian dish we know today has its origins in a legend. After the Battle of Meloria (1284), it is said that on the galleys of the triumphant Genoa, barrels of chickpea flour (farina di ceci) and olive oil were overturned during a storm, mixing with the salty sea water. The mix was then dished out to the sailors who initially refused to eat it, and left it drying in the sun, thus giving rise to the first farinata.
Back on dry land the recipe was perfected, cooking it in the oven on copper baking trays, and it soon spread throughout Liguria and nearby Tuscany, although considered original to the regional capital. There it is known as “Faìna” and is served with wine in “Sciamadde”, characteristic places often frequented by artistic types (such as singer-songwriter Fabrizio De Andrè). It is a real must along the coast of this region, from Zena to Savona, but it is also popular in Pisa and Livorno, where it is called “cecina”, “torta”, or “cinqueecinque” if used as a sandwich filling.