Originating in Genoa, farinata is a thin, nutty, peppery flatbread made with garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour. The French call it socca and in Tuscany it’s called cecina. In Uruguay and Argentina, it’s called fainá. It’s a delicious appetizer when seasoned with fresh rosemary, pepper, and sea salt, or topped with cheese and other tasty tidbits. But in Uruguay and in Argentina fainá is often paired with pizza and called horseback pizza, or pizza a caballo in Spanish. And nothing could be fainá.
Since Friday nights are home-made pizza night in our home (my husband makes a wicked crust), I’ve started making fainá to plop on top of slices of pizza.
You can find garbanzo bean flour (gluten free) at many natural food stores. In Uruguay, you can buy the mix in a package in the local supermarket. If you don’t have the mix, here’s a quick and easy recipe.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees, or if in Uruguay set it on the hottest setting.
2 1/2 cups garbanzo bean flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
7 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups water
- In a medium bowl, mix the garbanzo bean flour together with salt, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, sea salt, the Parmesan cheese, and ground black pepper.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of water and stir until the mixture is well blended. Set batter aside for about a half hour, to let the garbanzo flour absorb the water.
- When the oven’s hot, place the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch pizza pan. Put the pan in the oven until it’s sizzling hot.
- Gradually add the remaining water to the batter mixture and whisk until it’s thin enough to pour. Remove the hot pizza pan from oven, and immediately pour the batter into the pan.
- Place the pan back in the oven and bake until the fainá is golden and crispy (about 10-15 minutes).
- Cut into pieces and serve. Delicious hot or cold. Plopped on top of pizza, or solo.