Recently, I was given a new recipe to try, by a sweet friend who works at my boys’ preschool. It was for a garbanzo bean pancake, which, (sorry, sweet friend), sounded completely unappealing to me. However, sweet friend has a very Frenchy last name, and she told me that the recipe is from France. This tidbit caused me to do a complete 180, as I am a total food snob (not proud of this).
Sweet friend/French schoolmistress explained that the garbanzo bean pancake is called “socca” by her French peeps, and her family particularly loves it because she and one of her children suffer from multiple food intolerances. “Socca” is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan.
The recipe she offered me was blessedly simple and left a lot open for creativity. I’m not sure if I prepared it the same way French schoolmistress does it for her family, but my socca was delicious; crisp and golden around the edges with a fluffy-creamy, warm interior.
(serves one, doubles easily)
1/2 cup garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour
1/2 cup water
Spices/Herbs to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Whisk the water into the bean-flour and add in the seasonings. French schoolmistress advised me to use garlic, onion powder, rosemary, salt, and pepper. I did not have any rosemary on hand, so I used what I had and improvised, to delicious result, in the herb department. More on that later…
The batter will be the consistency of heavy cream. It needs to sit and meld for about 30 minutes, so, after about ten, turn the oven to 425 degrees to preheat. Once the oven is hot, drizzle some olive oil into a heat-safe skillet. I used cast iron. Put that in the oven for about ten minutes so it can get smoking hot. This will help your socca to get nice and crisp on the bottom.
Pour the batter into the hot pan and swirl. Bake for 12 minutes, brush a little more oil on top, and then broil for one more minute.
Now back to my herb issue. I figured the herbs were probably an important part of the recipe, but all I had was parsley and I didn’t think it would add much flavor if I cooked it into the pancake. So I decided to make a little herb salad with it and serve it as an accompaniment.
I started by making a little vinaigrette, and I tried to do something Frenchy, to stay with the overall theme. Two teaspoons of white wine vinegar…
…a quarter teaspoon of dijon mustard, a pinch of salt and a twist of freshly ground black pepper, into the bottom of a bowl.
Drizzle in about a tablespoon and a half of extra-virgin olive oil, while whisking.
A nice handful of whole, fresh parsley leaves into the bowl, and toss.
When the socca came out of the oven, I wasn’t really sure what to do with it, but it looked a lot like a pita bread, so I decided to cut it into wedges.
Guess what? It was a lot like a pita bread! Only better! It was a like the perfect marriage of soft, fresh, warm pita with a creamy, garlicky, satisfying hummus. The parsley salad offered a nice counterbalance of fresh, bright, herbal flavor. It makes for a perfect little light lunch or snack.
Merci; le meilleur professeur de francais!