Vibrant Spring Socca
As promised, the chickpea returns. This time around the versatile little legume is back in the form of flour. Chickpea, or garbanzo flour, is a high protein flour that is gluten free. With the increasing of number of people suffering from gluten intolerance, this is great flour to work with when cooking for a crowd. It has a rich, nutty and slightly tangy flavor, and is widely used in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in many traditional dishes. Socca, however, is a dish native to the South of France. It is a traditional crepe made from chickpea flour, water and oil. Socca couldn’t be much easier to make, and flavors from the chickpeas add wonderful depth to this light spring dish.
I’ve chosen to spruce up these crepes with some spring flair. A little pesto brightens up just about any dish, and this is no exception. Topped with a few fresh vegetables, these crepes make a wonderful appetizer when entertaining. I feel like spring flew by this year, the weather has been all over the place and it seems like we’ve catapulted straight into summer. So, I felt the need to take advantage of cooking with all the vibrant spring flavors while I still can.
Just about all aspects of this recipe are versatile and can be adjusted to your taste. Socca has a mild, nutty flavor and pairs well with most toppings, so feel free to get creative. In the past I’ve enjoyed it with roasted cauliflower florets and a drizzle of my cashew jalapeño cream, yum! But now, while the spring produce is still abundant, this pesto makes a perfect topping for these rustic crepes. The addition of arugula to the pesto adds a nice bite and a little spice. This recipe is naturally vegan and gluten free. If you are looking to make a nut free version as well, hemp seeds are a great option to replace the nuts in just about any pesto recipe.
For this recipe I’ve chosen to make a single, thick crepe to hold the toppings, but you could also make a few thinner crepes and serve them individually rather than slicing it up. If making several thin crepes, be sure to decrease the cooking time.
- 1 c chickpea flour
- 1 c water
- 1 ½ T olive oil
- 1 T fresh herbs of your choice, minced
- ½ t salt
- spring pesto, recipe below
- spring vegetables, such as sprouts, snow peas, asparagus
- shaved pecorino, optional
In a medium bowl, combine flour, water, olive oil, herbs and salt. Whisk until all clumps of flour are incorporated and the batter is smooth. Set aside and allow to rest for 30 minutes. You can prepare the pesto during this time, and cut up your vegetables into small bite size pieces.
Turn your broiler to high and place oven rack about 5" below the flame. Place a lightly greased cast iron skillet below the broiler for a few minutes, until hot. Carefully remove the skillet and pour in the batter. You may need to gently swirl the skillet around to evenly distribute the batter. Return to oven. Cooking time will be 5-10 minutes depending on the strength of your broiler. Check every 3 minutes or so to avoid burning. Remove from oven when golden brown.
Allow to cool for several minutes, carefully remove from skillet and place on serving dish or parchment paper. Top with pesto, fresh vegetables and pecorino.
- 1 c basil leaves, packed
- 2 c arugula
- ½ c olive oil
- ¼ c water
- ½ c walnuts, lightly toasted
- ¼ c nutritional yeast
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add oil or water as needed to reach a smooth consistency. This recipe will make more than you need for the socca, but it freezes wonderfully. Freeze extra and thaw to add to pasta salads, baked eggs, or just about anything your little heart desires.