Pancakes for dinner?

farinata_01After reading about the great deals on chickpea flour at Sahadi’s, Pennywatcher Jamie recommended I try a recipe with the same flour, but from the other side of the Mediterranean: Farinata Genovese.

A farinata’s like a giant Italian pancake, cooked in a cast-iron skillet. It uses remarkably few ingredients: just chickpea flour, water, olive oil, onion, and rosemary, but cooks up to a delicious consistency: crispy on the outside with a creamy interior.

The short ingredient list means it’s both simple to cook and cheap. The whole thing, which serves four as a meal or many more as an appetizer, costs less than a dollar to make and requires just a few easy steps. Find Jamie‘s favorite recipe, from Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World, after the break.

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TfaB: Dumpling Wars, Part II: Eldridge Street

The second stop on my tour was Eldridge St., home to two dumpling heavyweights.

img_0643First on the list was Prosperity Dumpling (46 Eldridge St., Manhattan—map), the odds-on favorite from all the reviews I’d read and heard from friends. A review in an old Time Out led me to expect a five minute wait; in fact, the wait was under a minute. And img_0641the product did not disappoint. The treasures were plump and delicately fried to achieve the perfect exterior texture. The ingredients on the inside tasted noticeably fresher than either of the joints by Columbus Park, and were so juicy that they dripped onto my pants.

img_06441Two blocks north I made my last stop at Vanessa’s Dumpling House (118 Eldridge St., Manhattan—map). It has the most restaurant-y décor of the four establishments, with a long counter, many wooden tables, and even a restroom. Sadly, their $1 deal only includes 4 dumplings, but img_0645they don’t sacrifice the quality. The dumplings aren’t as intricately wrapped—a club to Prosperity’s hammer—but they get the job done. They’re fat and juicy and the ingredients are just as fresh as Prosperity’s.

Conclusion: If this had been a five-on-five matchup, the decision would have been tough. I think Prosperity would have the edge anyway because of it’s superior texture and juiciness. With Prosperity’s 5-4 advantage, it’s the clear winner in penny for penny value.