If you've been to the Tuscan coast you might have tried out cecina, a delicious sort of flat bread that is a great appetizer or snack. Just like bread, it is best eaten right after it comes out of the oven. If you didn't have a chance to taste it or would like to try a really delicious treat, the cecina is made out of garbanzo bean flour (ceci in Italian). It is easy to make and you'll get a taste of Tuscany direct from your oven.
This yummy treat requires very few ingredients - ceci flour, water and olive oil! I read somewhere that the cecina was "invented" by accident along the coast when a ship carrying garbanzo flour was caught in a storm. The flour was all wet but not wanting to throw it away, some oil was added and then it was cooked like bread and voila, cecina!
Make sure to bake it in a hot oven until it has a golden crust. Since baking times will vary depending on your oven, check on it often!
- 500 gr ceci (garbanzo) flour - about 4 cups
- 1 liter of water - about 4 cups
- 1 tbsp salt
- extra-virgin olive oil
- freshly-ground black pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, mix the flour and slowly add the water with a wooden spoon making sure to mix well so you don't have any lumps. Add the salt. The mixture should be very smooth.
- If you have the time, cover and let the mixture rest for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove any foam that has formed at the top and mix again.
- Heat oven to 200° C (400° F).
- You'll need a large pan with low borders, like those used for rectangle-shaped pizzas. Pour a small cup of olive oil into pan, enough to cover the bottom. Add the mixture, making sure it is pretty low - the cecina has to be no higher than ½ cm (about ¼ inch) high, so if your pan is not wide enough to make it like this, bake two separate batches.
- Bake in the hot oven until the cecina has a golden crust all over, about 30 minutes.
- Grind lots of fresh black pepper on top of the cecina as soon as it comes out of the oven, cut into slices and enjoy!