Margarita's International Recipes
Calentita is a simple unleavened bread made from chickpea flour and olive oil. It has been eaten in Gibraltar for generations but became particularly warm during the post-war period. Of identical ingredients to Genoese fainâ, it is said to have been brought to Gibraltar by Genoese immigrants in the early 18th century. As the story goes, it acquired its name as street vendors would peddle it by calling "calentitaaaa," meaning "warm". Another possibility is that Spanish soldiers introduced it to Algeria in the 17th century - where the dish is still known as "calentica" and then Maghrebi Jews brought it to Gibraltar in the next century. Be it as it may, it became one of Gibraltar's national dishes.
As it happens, fainá is also very popular in Argentina, my home country, where it's sold in pizzerias and eaten alongside pizza (don't ask me why). I, personally, have never had it but I made besan pudla, a Gujarati pancake with similar ingredients, not too long ago. I was just as underwhelmed by the calentita as I had been by the pudla. Perhaps it's about technique, or perhaps it's because I don't like chickpeas that much. My daughter, who does, felt the problem was the Parmesan cheese (which is not traditional but I added it for extra flavor), which made it too dry.
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp of olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt or 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
- white pepper
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 8"x8" or equivalent over-safe pan with olive oil.
Put flour, water, olive oil and salt or Parmesan cheese in a blender or mixer. Process until smooth. Pour onto the prepared pan and bake until a fork inserted in the middle comes out dry, 40-60 minutes. Sprinkle with white pepper. Serve warm.
Adapted from a recipe at Gastronomía y una Pizca
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