May 1, 2016
Or is it "panisse"? Or "farinata"? Whatever you call it, it's the classic Mediterranean snack made with chickpea flour. It's easy. It's gluten-free. And you can top it with whatever flavours you want.
The amounts suggested here will serve two for lunch.
Put 3/4 cup of chickpea flour and a teaspoon of salt in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in a cup and a half of water until you have a smooth batter. Now let it stand for an hour or more. You can make this up the night before and refrigerate it, if you are the kind of person who thinks ahead.
While the batter sits, prepare some toppings. Less is more, probably, though I have a tendency to overload my socca. Here are some ideas--but use only a selection, not the whole list:
thinly sliced raw onion
chopped fresh rosemary leaves (the dried ones are too hard for this)
chopped fresh sage leaves
dried tomatoes (soaked in warm water for 30 minutes if they're really hard)
black olives, pitted and chopped
fresh tomato, seeded and chopped
About 45 minutes before you plan to eat, heat the oven to 500 degrees. Put your pans or baking sheets* in as the oven heats so that they get really hot.
Once the oven is hot, remove the pans and swirl a tablespoon of olive oil into each one. Whisk additional olive oil (about two tablespoons) into the batter, then pour the batter into the hot pans and sprinkle the onions and the sage or rosemary over the batter. Put the pans into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Now scatter any remaining ingredients over the top, such as olives and/or tomatoes (whether dried or fresh) and return the pan to the oven for another ten minutes.
To serve, loosen the socca from the bottom of the pan with a thin spatula and fold it in half onto a plate or cutting board, so that the visible top is as crisp as the bottom. Cut this half-moon in half again, making quarters.** Serve two of these doubled-over quarters per person,
The finished socca should be crisp on the bottom but have a creamy center. It can be baked on top of the stove as a thin pancake if you don't want to use the oven. ***
*I use two 10-inch cast iron skillets for this amount of batter. You could also use one large rimmed baking sheet; unless your baking pan is heavy, however, it might warp in the high heat, which will allow the batter to flow unevenly toward the low side--and the thinner area of batter will probably burn. So two heavy skillets are better.
**You don't have to fold and cut it this way. I do it because I like to eat socca like a sandwich, rather than with a knife and fork. Feel free to eat yours however you like.
***For additional socca ideas as well as an entire book of chickpea flour recipes, look at Lindsey S. Love's Chickpea Flour Does It All, a cookbook collection of gluten-free and dairy-free recipes.