This is so not my week. I’m going to keep this very short because I badly injured my thumb last night and you don’t want to know how long it just took me to type out the recipe at the end of this post…
Jack and I made this last Saturday night for dinner. I got the inspiration from this photo of a leek tart that I pinned. Leeks aside, my recipe is entirely different. I decided to try socca (a chickpea flour pancake/dough) as a healthier alternative to puff pastry… not that it’s equivalent to a flaky puff pastry it’s just something I’ve been wanting to try.
I wanted to create a sort of herb-cream cheese spread, but without cheese, so I made a dill and chive spread using almonds as the base. It was so good that we couldn’t stop eating it by the spoonful as we were making the rest of components of the meal. This spread could be used in so many different ways – a dip for pita chips and raw veggies… or thin it out and use it as a creamy salad dressing… (insert a 3rd idea here).
Socca is one of those things that I think you have to try at least twice to get just right. I was pleasantly surprised how easy and delicious this was, being my first go at it. The only thing I’ll do different next time is put less batter in my pan (or use a larger pan) for a slightly thinner, less dense, crust. (note, it looks thin here but chickpea flour is surprisingly filling)
I topped this “tart” with sauteed leeks and, for crunch, some toasted almonds. We popped open a bottle of red wine and had a lovely casual evening out on the patio.
On another note, if anyone has a recommendation for splitting up fighting dogs without getting your hands in the middle, I’d appreciate suggestions… Our “kids” haven’t been getting along lately, to say the least…
serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main course
note: it’s recommended for the socca to soak your chickpea flour and water for at least 30 minutes. Do that step first so it can soak while you make the other components.
1 cup almonds, blanched, skins removed (*see note below)
1/2 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon miso paste (if you don’t happen to have it on hand, just add extra salt, to taste)
juice and zest of one small lemon
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (again, if you don’t have it, skip it)
1/2 to 3/4 cups water
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup mixed chopped herbs – I used chives, parsley & dill (plus a little bit extra to put on top at the end)
salt & pepper, to taste
In a high speed blender, combine all ingredients except the herbs. Add more water and/or olive oil as needed to get your blade moving as well as create a creamy paste-like consistency.
Pour into a smaller bowl and stir in herbs. Taste and adjust seasonings (salt, pepper, lemon).
Place in refrigerator while you make your socca. When you’re ready to use the spread, you may need to thin it with a bit more water.
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup water
salt & pepper
4-6 tablespoons of olive oil (although I used less)
1/2 clove, minced garlic
I used Mark Bittman’s recipe, click here to read his method. The only thing I did differently was that I didn’t use onions or rosemary in my batter since I was planning leeks (which are onion-ey) and other herbs on top. So I used his basic recipe and mixed in a half clove of minced garlic into my batter.
I made this in a 10-inch skillet (I don’t have a cast iron skillet as the recipe calls for, but I really need to get one). Next time I would either make this same recipe in a larger skillet, or pour in one-half to two-thirds the amount of batter.
Allow your socca to cool a bit before assembling with the almond spread. I served mine warm, not hot – almost room temperature.
2 small leeks, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only. Saute in a skillet for just a minute with a splash of olive oil and salt
sliced almonds, toasted
reserved chopped herbs
When socca is cooled, layer on the almond herb spread (you might not use it all), sauteed leeks, sliced almonds, and a sprinkle of remaining herbs.
* a note about blanching almonds: drop in boiling water for about 30 seconds, remove and transfer to a bowl of water filled with ice. Skins should slide right off. This might be just as tasty with the skins left on, but I was going for a white (not brown) color. Alternatively, you can soak your almonds overnight, but I didn’t think of that far enough in advance.