Fainá is a nutty, peppery flatbread (related to the Italian flatbread farinata) made with garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour. Fainá is hugely popular in both Argentina and Uruguay. It's often served as an accompaniment to pizza (pizza a Caballo). This version of faína - topped with chorizo sausage, blue cheese and spinach - makes a great appetizer, and is a gluten-free alternative to regular pizza.
Fainá is very quick and easy to make, and you can find garbanzo bean flour at many natural food stores.
- 2 1/2 cups garbanzo bean flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons olive oil
- Optional: 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 2 cups water
- 4 small chorizo sausages (or 1 large)
- 1 cup shredded fresh spinach leaves
- 4-6 ounces crumbled blue cheese
- Whisk the garbanzo bean flour together with the salt, 3 tablespoons olive oil, parmesan cheese, and a generous amount of ground black pepper.
- Whisk in 1 3/4 cups of water until well mixed. Set aside for about a half hour, to let the flour absorb some of the water.
- Remove the casings from the sausages and roughly chop the sausage. Cook the sausage in a skillet until well browned, adding a tablespoon or so of vegetable or olive oil if they are sticking. Remove sausages to a plate lined with paper towels to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. When it is hot, place the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch pizza pan, and heat in the oven until very hot.
- Stir more water into the batter if necessary, until the batter is just thin enough to pour. Carefully remove hot pizza pan from oven, and pour batter into the pan. It should make a thin (about 1/4 inch) layer. Place in the oven and bake until fainá is just golden and crispy (about 8-10 minutes). Remove from oven and top with sausage, spinach and crumbled blue cheese. Return to oven for a few minutes longer, until the blue cheese starts to melt and the spinach is just wilting.
- Cut into pieces and serve.
Note: You can use a smaller pan to make thicker fainá, which will need a slightly longer baking time.