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 is 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
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
- Optional: 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups water
- In a medium bowl, whisk the garbanzo bean flour with the salt, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the Parmesan cheese (if using) and a generous amount of ground black pepper.
- Whisk in 1 3/4 cups of water until the mixture is well blended. Set batter aside for about 30 minutes to let the garbanzo flour absorb some of the water.
- Preheat the oven to 450 F. When it is hot, place the remaining 1/4 cup 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 layer, about 1/4 inch. Place the pan back in the oven and bake until fainá is golden and crispy about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Cut them into pieces and serve.
Note: You can use a smaller pan to make thicker fainá, which will need a slightly longer baking time.