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August 21, 2022 | by Emily Paster

Gibraltar’s national dish.

This gluten-free flatbread that is Gibraltar’s national dish contains only a handful of ingredients and is incredibly simple to make. Chickpea flour, or garbanzo bean flour, is the basis of calentita and happily, it is relatively easy to find these days. (Bob’s Red Mill makes a good version.)

Dishes made with chickpea flour date back to ancient times and are quite common around the Mediterranean, such as Nice’s chickpea flour pancake, socca, and Italy’s farinata. Joan Nathan even includes a recipe for socca in her book King Solomon’s Table, emphasizing the Jewish heritage of this ancient ingredient.

While calentita is very easy to make, it does require some planning as the batter needs to sit for several hours or, better yet, overnight. Place the baking dish in the oven while it is preheating: you want the dish to be hot when you add the batter. Do not skimp on the salt and pepper - without them the calentita is quite bland. Served hot, however, this simple dish is quite tasty and makes a wonderful accompaniment to soups and stews.

Adapted from the recipe by Justin Bautista

Serves 6-8 as a first course or snack


  • 2 cups chickpea flour
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Whisk together the chickpea flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl
  2. Slowly add the water and whisk to combine. Cover and allow the mixture to rest for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight. (If resting the batter for more than 2 hours, store it in the refrigerator.)
  3. When you are ready to bake the calentita, preheat the oven to 400°F. Pour the olive oil in the bottom of a 9x13-inch glass or metal baking dish and swirl it around to coat the bottom. Place the baking dish in the oven while it is preheating so that the dish can get very hot.
  4. When the oven has reached the desired temperature and the baking dish is quite hot, carefully, remove the baking dish from the oven and pour the calentita batter into the dish. Return the dish to the oven.
  5. Bake the calentita until firm and golden brown on the top, 55 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut into squares. Serve immediately.

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