One of my favorite ways to get “bread” on the table fast is to make socca, the chickpea pancake that’s a classic in France. It’s fast, easy, and – in it’s simplest form – contains nothing but chickpea flour, water, oil, salt, and pepper.
Socca is wonderful as an appetizer or as a savory, gluten-free “crepe” (try filling it with braised meats or veggie stews). It’s also great for breakfast with some jam.
Recipe (4-6 servings):
- 1 1/2 cups room temperature water
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (plus more as needed)
To make the batter, pour the water into a mixing bowl and sift the chickpea flour into it using a fine-mesh sieve or a sifter. Add the salt, black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Whisk the mixture together, cover the bowl with a towel, and let the batter sit on the counter for at least 5 minutes and up to 12 hours.
For smaller pancakes, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Pour 2-inch circles of batter into the pan and cook until small bubbles appear on the top of the pancakes and the bottoms are browned (1-2 minutes). Flip the pancakes and cook until the other side is browned (about a minute). Serve hot.
To make one large, more traditional pancake, heat the oven to 450 degrees. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a 12-inch oven-proof skillet or pizza pan. Bake the batter for about 15 minutes, or until the pancake is set. Heat the broiler, brush the top of the pancake with a bit more olive oil, and then set the socca a few inches away from the broiler until it browns a tad (1-2 minutes). Cut into wedges and serve hot.
To make fancier socca, add half of a small, thinly sliced sweet onion and one tablespoon of fresh rosemary to the batter before cooking.
For an Indian version of socca, add half of a small, thinly sliced onion, 1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger, 2-4 minced hot green chilies (such as jalapeno), 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of ground coriander, and 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro to the batter.
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