Saturday, May 14, 2011

Socca to me

Socca: like pizza, but healthy!

Okay... not so much. What it really is: an oven-baked chickpea flour pancake from the south of France. The Italian version is called farinata. Mine was not as brown and crispy on the top as it's supposed to be (I lack a broiler), but the bottom was crisp and perfect!

It's really nothing like pizza. I just happened to make a margherita socca tonight. Conveniently, the pancake can be topped or filled with whatever you want. As it is, this 99-cent container of basil I got the other day is going a really long way. I've had a bizarrely stressful week (uterine histology, please go away now), and fresh herbs make it better.

Before I give you the recipe, allow me to tell you about Mast Brothers Chocolate. I went on a tour of the shop thanks to NYUSoM's Food and Wine Club today, and wow. I mean, wow. That is some chocolate. We each got a free bar of it as part of the tour, and then I got one to give to my mom and one of the plain Madagascar variety to bake with. The Madagascar bar is sort of fruity and floral, very sharp, and so I thought pairing it with lemon, basil, and macadamia nuts would work best. Here you have:

Shortbread cookie topped with a chocolate- and macadamia-dipped candied
lemon slice (and a few strips of raw lemon zest, since I didn't think there was
enough lemony zing in the candied lemon, and I seriously wish
I'd baked zest into the shortbread)

Shortbread cookie topped with a chocolate-dipped candied
basil leaf and garnished with some zest

Candied basil leaf dipped in chocolate and garnished with zest

Candied lemon peel dipped in chocolate and macadamia nuts

There's also a large hunk of macadamia nut, chocolate, and zest that's gradually hardening on the parchment paper. There was a little left over of each ingredient, so I mushed it together. It's not pretty, but it's going to be a delicious breakfast.
1/2 cup gram flour
1/4 tsp salt
pinch pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup warm water
2 tbsp olive oil

Stir the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil and 1/2 cup water, adding up to 1/4 cup more if the batter looks too thick. Let the batter sit for at least an hour and up to 12. Put a heavy cast-iron skillet or, if you're a skillet-lacking person like myself, some other preheatable baking pan into the oven and preheat the oven to 450 F. After it's preheated, add a little butter or olive oil to coat the inside of the hot pan. Pour in half the batter and bake for eight to ten minutes (until the edges are set), at which point you can either flip it and bake it a little longer or broil it (broiling is preferred).

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