Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cecina Flatbread - made with Garbanzos & Gluten-free

This is grilled salmon covered with the tomato sauce/cecina on the side.
This flatbread was recommended to me by a waiter who knew I needed to eat gluten-free. He said back in Italy (the Tuscany region), where he was raised, this is the bread they served to anyone who had a wheat allergy. {If you didn't know, Italy has been way ahead of the US in discovering gluten allergies. From what I’ve heard, all children are tested by the age of two.}

The flatbread is called cecina (garbanzo is ceci in Italian) and it works as an appetizer or snack. Just like bread, it is best eaten right when it comes out of the oven. I read on the Internet (from someone else who read it somewhere..don't you love the Internet?) that cecina was "invented" by accident when a ship carrying garbanzo flour was caught in a storm. The flour got wet but the crew, not wanting to throw it away, added oil and baked it. I believe it, don’t you?  J  Hey, cheese was discovered when goat milk was transported across the desert. The milk, stowed in sacks that were loaded onto camels, rocked to and fro and churned itself.
Make sure to bake the cecina in a hot oven until it has a golden crust. Since baking times will vary depending on your oven, check on it often!  {I also will suggest that once it's done, if you want it crispier, cut into slices, remove the pieces from the baking pan, put on a new (non-oiled) pan and bake longer to "dry" them out. It's delish! Promise.  (And full of protein)


Serves: 4

2 cups garbanzo flour
2 cups water
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
freshly-ground black pepper to taste

In a large bowl, mix the garbanzo flour and add the water with a whisk. Stir well, making sure you don't have any lumps. Add the salt. The mixture should be silky smooth.

Cover and let the mixture stand for an hour (or longer…overnight is okay). Remove any foam that has formed at the top. Stir again.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Pour oil into a 15 x 10 x 1 jellyroll style pan. (It should cover the bottom.)

Add the garbanzo mixture. It should be low -- no higher than ¼ inch high...sort of floating on top of the oil.

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 serve warm.

I served this with my:

Homemade Tomato Oregano Sauce


10 Roma tomatoes (peeled, seeded, diced) (about 3 cups)
½ yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
10 grinds of a pepper mill
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
¼ cup olive oil


Chop and dice tomatoes (see below for removing peel). Chop and dice onions. Put all the ingredients in a 10” saucepan. Heat to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.

**Peeling tomatoes: Bring a pot of water to boil.  Put the tomatoes into the boiling water for about 20-30 seconds. Remove with tongs and douse with cold water. The peel should remove easily with a serrated knife.  Once peeled, cut in half, remove the seeds, then chop fine for the sauce.

* * * * *

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  1. Thanks for posting this, Avery! I'm always on the prowl for good gluten-free recipes, and this one looks terrific. I have some garbanzo/fava bean flour that would probably work - makes great waffles, too.

  2. Please clarify the following:
    "Pour the mixture into a 15 x 10 x 1 jellyroll style pan.

    Pour the olive oil into pan; cover the bottom. Add the garbanzo mixture. It should be low -- no higher than ¼ inch high."

    Don't you mean that the olive oil goes into a 15 X 10 X 1 jelly roll style pan, covering the bottom with the oil. THEN you pour the mixture into the pan on top of the oil?
    Your instructions seem to have us adding the mixture twice, before and after the oil.

    1. So sorry, Libby, I made a huge mistake. Thanks for pointing it out.


  3. Yes, Libby. I'll revise right away. Pour the oil into the pan, then the mixture on top of the oil. So sorry. Bad me!


  4. Did I miss the oregano? How much in the tomato sauce?

    1. No, Judy, you didn't miss it. I forgot it. Sheesh. I'm a terrible blog poster today. It was "mystery" day, didn't you know? Everyone was supposed to figure out what was "wrong" with this recipe. LOL. I've added it now. Use 1 tablespoon dried oregano for the mixture.

      Thanks for pointing it out. My brain is often a "mystery" to me, too.


  5. Avery/Daryl - The flatbread looks wonderful. I'm looking forward to trying the recipe (and the flour!). Thank you so much for sharing it, and I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend.

    (Judy - 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried oregano sounds about right.)

    1. Cleo, thanks. For helping out with the recipe and for the Mother's Day thoughts. I'm looking forward to making a flour less chocolate cake. Hopefully I won't leave out any of the ingredients!