Fainá is peppery flatbread made with garbanzo beans. It comes from Italy, where it's known as farinata or socca. Fainá is just as popular as pizza in Argentina and Uruguay. In fact, it's usually served right alongside pizza, and many people put it on top of their pizza slice to make a sort of flatbread/pizza sandwich called pizza a caballo (pizza riding horseback).
Basic fainá consists of garbanzo flour, water, oil, salt and pepper, in a ratio of about 2 cups garbanzo bean flour, to about 3 cups water and 1/3 cup oil. It makes a runny mixture that is poured into a hot pizza pan and baked at a high temperature until it's crispy and golden brown. Popular additions to the basic dough include cheese, garlic, and oregano, and fainá can be topped with more cheese, onions, olives, etc.
This "stuffed" fainá has a layer of ham and cheese sandwiched in between two layers of fainá. The bottom layer is cooked first before the filling and top layers are added, so that the faina gets a nice crust. (A crispy crust is desirable with fainá - many people ask for piece from the edge of the pan (de la orilla) when ordering fainá, so that they can enjoy the crispy ridge that forms around the outside edge).Garbanzo bean flour is fairly easy to find, with the many gluten free products available these days. But you can also make your own - soak 200 grams of dried garbanzos in water over night, drain them, then grind them into a fine meal in a food processor. If you have a fairly powerful food processor, you can probably grind the dried garbanzo beans without soaking them first.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 1 large pizza.
- 2 1/4 cups garbanzo bean flour
- 3 cups water
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 6 ounces of sliced smoked ham
- 6 ounces of sliced cheese
- Thin slices of tomato (optional)
- 4 ounces grated cheese
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Place the garbanzo flour, garlic salt, pepper, oregano and Parmesan cheese in a medium bowl and whisk together. Stir in 3 cups water and 3 tablespoons olive oil, and mix well. Let mixture rest for 20 minutes. Check dough and make sure it's thin enough to pour easily - if not, add a little bit more water.
- Place remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12 inch pizza pan or cast iron skillet and place in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove from oven and quickly pour half of the dough mixture into the pan. Return pan to the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, until golden brown and crispy around the edges.
- Remove pan from oven and carefully layer slices of ham and cheese sliced over the bottom crust (careful, it will be hot!). Add slices of tomato if desired. Cover ham and cheese with remaining fainá mixture.
- Return pan to oven and bake until the top layer is dark golden brown, about 10-15 minutes more. Sprinkle top of fainá with the grated cheese and return to oven until cheese is melted. Serve warm.