The “cecìna” is a flatbread of sorts, composed of chick pea flour and water, olive oil and salt (and a few optional embellishments). It’s traditionally baked in a wide, shallow, well-seasoned copper pan and enjoyed hot out of the oven, sliced into squares or wedges. The result is a bit like a savory pancake, soft in the middle but with a delicate lace-like crust. Chickpea flour gives it a golden color and an appealing vegetal flavor. It is sold hot out of the oven in pizzeria or focaccerie in Pisa and its surroundings. but also in Livorno, Viareggio and the Versilia area.
- 3 cups chickpea flour (available at most supermarkets and Italian grocery stores)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating a baking pan
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- Freshly ground black pepper (optional)The recipe may date back to Medieval times. The Pisa fleet, captured by Genoa (here it is called “farinata) in 1284 after the Meloria battle, encountered stormy seas. Bags of chickpea flour and barrels of oil tipped over and mixed with the salty water of the sea, resulting in a slurry, which the hungry soldiers dried and “baked” on deck.
This typical street food, sold by the slice fresh out of the oven, requires only a few basic ingredients: chickpea flour, olive oil, salt, and rosemary–and can be enjoyed piping hot or at room temperature. Serve it with roast chicken, grilled sausages or chops, or mussel stew.