- To make the farinata:Lightly coat two 9 by 13-inch baking pans or rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray. In a blender, purée the chickpea flour and water. Pour the batter into a large, heavy-bottomed pot and place over medium heat. Whisk in the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until thickened to a paste, about 15 minutes. Stir in the rosemary, then pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Tap the pan lightly against the counter to level, then refrigerate, uncovered, until set, at least 2 hours.
- Prepare the abalone:Preheat the oven to 325°F. Using a large palette knife or kitchen spoon, pry underneath the foot of the abalone muscle to dislodge it from the shell. Trim away the innards and rinse clean.
- Heat a film of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Season the abalone with salt and sear until lightly browned on both sides, then transfer to a plate.
- Wipe the pot clean, heat a thin film of olive oil over medium-low heat, and stir in the onions and a pinch of salt. Sweat for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and sweat until the garlic has softened, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the red pepper flakes into the pot, deglaze with the wine, and bring the pot to a simmer. Pour in the stock and tomatoes, return to a simmer, and stir the abalone.
- Cover the pot, transfer to the oven, and braise for 25 minutes to 1½ hours or until the abalone slide off a skewer when pierced. Uncover the pot and let cool for 20 minutes. Fish out the abalone pieces and slice crosswire into thin strips. Return the slices to the braise, then bring the pot to a low simmer and stir in the capers, anchovies, and sliced olives. Turn off the heat and keep warm.
- Now finish the farinata.With a 3-inch cutter, punch the chilled farinata into rounds, cutting as close as possible to limit the amount of trimmings remaining: you will need 12 rounds. Blot the rounds dry between paper towels.
- In a large sauté pan with straight sides or cast-iron skillet, heat ½ inch of olive oil over medium-high heat. Dust the farinata rounds in Wondra flour, shaking off any excess. In batches to avoid crowding the pan, sear the rounds until golden brown on both sides, then drain the paper towels
- To serve, place the farinata disks in bowls. Divide the abalone pieces evenly among the bowls and spoon some braising liquid over the top. Grate lemon zest over each bowl. Slice the lemon in half, then squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into each bowl. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, a few sprigs of chervil, and a sprinkling of dehydrated olives. Serve with the remaining farinata.
- *Chef’s note: I’ve adapted the recipe for a modern kitchen, cooking it in a pot, pouring it into a pan to set before punching out disks and crisping them in a pan. Instead of abalone, you can use squid or octopus in this recipe. Because the weight provided for the abalone in this recipe includes the shell, use half the weight for squid or octopus.
Reprinted with permission from SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine, by Shelley Lindgren and Matthew Accarrino with Kate Leahy (Ten Speed Press, 2012)Photography copyright 2012 by Sara Remington