Anyone who knows me - MEREDITH BAIRD - well, or has lived with me, knows that my lazy culinary specialty is the "Little Pizza". The Little Pizza consists of either a sprouted grain Ezekiel Tortilla or an Ezekiel Brown Rice Tortilla (depending on my mood), topped with my baked tomato sauce, steamed broccoli, lemon, evo, red chili flakes and goat cheese (if I am feeling indulgent). I have eaten this dish in varying versions since middle school. It was the first crowd pleasing vegetarian dish that "came up with", and I've never met someone who doesn't like it. I usually reserve it for casual weekday nights, but every now and then it gets served at a dinner party- shame! (Roast a red pepper and add Kalamata olives for dinner party style!) This dish is so easy, and so good. No matter what time of year, we eat the Little Pizza about one night a week- but recently it got a face lift !
So, what happened?
I've been on a cookbook ordering rampage. Inspired or something like it. Mugaritz, The Fat Duck, Noma, Eleven Madison Park, and a few other coffee table beauties have made there way onto the shelves, but the books that have really been turning me on are Dennis Cotter's. His books For the Love of Food, Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and me..., and Cafe Paradiso are all excellent vegetarian cookbooks that will never go out of style. Reading his recipes remind me of the time when I would pour over the Moosewood Cookbooks, Vegetarian Epicure, Linda's Kitchen etc. All of these cookbooks are the ones that taught me how to cook before I took the leap into the land of raw food. Cozy, classic, vegetarian food. Yum. In my perusing I ran across a recipe for Socca. I've had Socca before, but never as a "pizza"- obviously, I had to try it.
Socca is a chickpea flour pancake that originated in the south of France. It is a relative to the pancake or crepe (depending on how you look at it.) It is naturally gluten free, grain free and vegan- and it is one of the most easy recipes on the planet. This recipe seemed like a totally - NO DUH - moment.
So I've decided to ditch the frozen Ezekiel for a while and get with the SOCCA program!
Meredith's Little Socca Pizza Recipe
1 Cup Chickpea Flour, sifted
1 ¼ Cup Water
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Whisk all ingredients together. Allow this mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes or longer. (Some say that you can make it in the morning and let it sit in the fridge all day. I haven't been organized enough to do this). The point of allowing the mixture to sit is so that the flour absorbs the water. Remember, the flour is actually a bean, so if you think about it - letting it soak makes a lot of sense.
Preheat Oven to 450 with a cast iron skillet in the oven. (ie. heat the skillet)
Pull the skillet out with oven mits, and coat with a generous amount of olive oil.
Pour Half of the batter in the skillet and allow to bake for approximately 10 minutes.
Flip socca out of pan.
Preheat the skillet again, before making the second pancake. (I made the mistake of not doing this, and it doesn't come out as well)
Makes 2 10 inch Socca
If you prefer a slightly crisper crust, throw the finished pancakes back in the oven for a few minutes before topping.
Baked Tomato Sauce
1 Pint fo Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon Olive OIl
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Red Chili Flakes
Toss tomatoes with olive oil, salt and chili flakes. Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes. (You can do this while you are heating the skillet)
1 Red Bell Pepper, roasted
1 Head of Broccoli (or Broccoli Rabe) Steamed
Fresh Goat Cheese (Optional)
Pine Nuts (Optional)
Top the Socca pancake with the roasted tomato sauce, steamed broccoli, goat cheese and pine nuts. Drizzle with a little olive oil and lemon. If desired, toss back in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
SO GOOD and SO EASY.
I served this with the most amazing Chinon Rose.
I will be experimenting with other toppings. I'm feeling a tostada version + margaritas coming on! Stay tuned....
XOXO Meredith Baird