Farinata with asparagus and onion – Oven-baked Italian chickpea omelette

Chickpea flour is one of my favourite ingredients and I can’t imagine my kitchen without it. Mixed with a little bit of water, it is one of the best vegan egg substitutes: it is a great binder for frying and baking – I use it in the battering process and to fry my morning chickpea omelette. But, for me, the “chickpea throne” belongs to the oven-baked Italian omelette called farinata. I have it for breakfast, take it out in a lunch box, put a lemon-sprinkled slice between fresh slices of bread, or put it on the table as an elegant tart when I’m expecting guests. Traditionally, farinata is prepared without any extra ingredients or with the addition of olives (I recommend this!). But, I do like to experiment with this dish, and this Spring the asparagus and onion variant has become my favourite.

Ingredients for a tin / pan with a diameter of about 26 cm

(I prefer to use a frying pan – you just have to make sure that it can be used in the oven. In the case of baking tins, choose a tight metal one – prior to baking, the farinata batter is almost liquid so don’t use baking paper here.)

  • 250g chickpea flour
  • 500ml water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 big splash of olive oil (about 4 tbsp)
  • 1/2 bunch of green asparagus
  • 2 small onions or a large one
  • some extra olive oil
  • salt to taste (I recommend the black kala namak salt) and the juice of one lemon for drizzling 

1. Sift the chickpea flour into a large bowl. Add the water, salt and olive oil. Mix everything thoroughly with a hand whisk – the batter should not contain any lumps and bubbles should appear on the surface.

2. Put the farinata batter aside at the room temperature for at least 5 hours (it can even be 10-12h). For me the best option is to perform step one in the evening and bake the farinata in the morning.

3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Prepare the veggies: peel the onion and cut it into large half moons; break the hard ends of the asparagus and cut them into two or three short pieces. Brush the bottom and sides of the pan / tin with a little olive oil.

4. Stir the chickpea batter and pour it into the pan / tin. Create your onion and asparagus composition: some of the pieces will sink but some will stay on the surface of the batter. Sprinkle the surface with an additional portion of olive oil, especially the vegetables – thanks to that, they will not burn after a while in the oven.

5. Sprinkle the top of the farinata with salt and gently transfer it to the preheated oven. Bake for about 40 minutes. It tastes great while hot, freshly baked, or even cold, straight from the fridge. I like farinata sprinkled with an extra portion of salt (the black kala namak salt works great here) and drizzled with some lemon juice.