Fainá is a nutty, peppery flatbread (related to the italian flatbread farinata) made with garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour. It makes a great appetizer, (especially with toppings), but it's most often served as an accompaniment to pizza. In fact, topping a slice pizza with a piece of fainá is a very common practice in both Argentina and Uruguay, where fainá is hugely popular. When pizza and fainá are paired this way it's called pizza a caballo (horseback pizza).
Fainá is very quick and easy to make, and you can find garbanzo bean flour (gluten free) at many natural food stores.
- 2 1/2 cups garbanzo bean flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2-2 1/2 cups water
- In a medium bowl, whisk the garbanzo bean flour together with the salt, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the Parmesan cheese, and a generous amount of ground black pepper.
- Whisk in 1 3/4 cups of water until the mixture is well blanded. Set batter aside for about a half hour, to let the garbanzo flour absorb some of the water.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. When it is hot, place the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch pizza pan. Heat the pan in the oven until very hot.
- Gradually stir remaining water into the batter mixture until it is thin enough to pour. Remove the hot pizza pan from oven, and immediately pour the batter into the pan. The batter should make a thin (about 1/4 inch) layer. Place the pan back in the oven and bake until fainá is golden and crispy (about 8-10 minutes).
- Cut the faina into pieces and serve.
Note: You can use a smaller pan to make thicker faína, which will need a slightly longer baking time.