Socca (chick pea pancake)
I have a few recipes for socca (also known as farinata or cecina), a simple chick pea pancake popular in Italy and France. There is the traditional baked Bittman version, and the richer fried Ottolenghi version. I combined the two — fry for a minute in a cast iron skillet to get a crispy base, then bake and broil. A sheet of roasted peppers, onions and celery makes a delicious topping, along with a scoop of warm cannellini. Middle Eastern and Indian grocers sell chickpea flour, which is also a useful ingredient for gluten-free or even Passover cooking. While you are there, get some za’atar and a blend such as Yemeni spice.
1 cup chickpea flour, well sifted
1.25 cup warm water
1t extra virgin olive oil
1T curry or Yemeni spice
1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red, yellow or orange pepper, peeled, cored and sliced
4 stalks celery, rinsed and sliced
1 cup cooked cannelini
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil, and rub a little oil into foil with a paper towel.
Toss onions, peppers and celery in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Lay vegetables on sheet and bake for about 60 minutes. Remove from oven, and raise oven to 400 degrees.
Meanwhile, sift chickpea flour into a large mixing bowl with salt, pepper and Yemeni spice. Whisk in warm water, taking care to break clumps, and stir in 1t oil. Let sit unrefridgerated, covered with a damp paper towel — as little as 30 minutes, as long as several hours.
Now warm cast iron skillet on medium flame. Add a little olive oil and let heat. Dump in batter, and let sit for about 2-3 minutes, until bottom is just set. Now move skillet to oven and bake for 15 minutes. Return vegetables to warm in oven. After 5 minutes, remove skillet and set under broiler for 2-3 minutes, until nice and brown on top. Remove skillet to cooling rack.
Heat beans in a small saucepan. Carefully cut pancake into wedges with a butter knife or spatula. Be careful not to scratch skillet, and very careful not to burn yourself on handle. Remove vegetables from oven.
Plate two wedges of pancake per person. Lay an assortment of vegetables over pancake and top with a scoop of beans. Top with a sprinkle of za’atar and a little lemon juice.