Alone, as served here, it is a great gluten-free meal. Chickpea flour, a staple in India, is the main ingredient. Despite its high carbohydrates content, it is also high in protein compared to other flours.
• 2 ½ cups chickpea flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 6 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2-2 ½ cups water
• Serrano ham (optional)
1. Whisk the chickpea flour together with the salt, 3 tablespoons olive oil, parmesan cheese, and a generous amount of ground black pepper.
2. Whisk in 1 ½ cups of water until well mixed. Set aside for about a half hour, to let the flour absorb some of the water.
3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. When hot, place the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pizza pan, (we used a 13x9 pizza stone) and heat in the oven until very hot.
4. Stir more water into the batter until it is thin enough to pour. Remove hot pizza pan from oven, and pour batter into the pan. It should make a thin (about 1/4 inch) layer.
5. Place in the oven and bake until fainá is golden (about 12-15 minutes). The inside will be moist and outside will be crispy. Let cool for a minute or two. Cut and serve.
6. For variety, top with serrano ham and serve alongside a mixed green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing.
Makes 6 servings.
Elizabeth Carrion, a Dominican, co-founded Mi Cocina, a New Jersey-based catering service that also offers cooking classes, with her sister, Ana Martinez.