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, as a dip for pita chips and raw veggies, or thinned out and tossed with greens as a creamy salad dressing.
Socca is one of those things that I think you have to try at least twice to get just right. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and delicious this was, being my first go at it. The only thing I’ll do differently next time is to put less batter in my pan (or use a larger pan) for a slightly thinner, less dense, crust. (It looks thin here but chickpea flour is surprisingly filling).
I topped this “tart” with sautéed 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…
Socca recipe adapted from Mark Bittman’s method.
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ garlic clove, minced
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper
- 1 cup almonds, blanched, skins removed*
- ½ garlic clove, coarsely chopped
- ½ 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)
- ½ to ¾ cups water
- 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup mixed chopped herbs, plus extra for garnish – I used chives, parsley & dill
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper
- 2 small leeks, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
- Sliced almonds, toasted
- Reserved chopped herbs
- Make the socca: In a medium bowl, combine the chickpea flour, water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth, cover, and set aside to soak for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450 with a 12-inch cast-iron skillet inside.**
- Make the almond-herb spread: In a high speed blender, combine the almonds, garlic, miso, lemon juice and zest, nutritional yeast, ½ cup water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and pinches of salt and pepper. Blend, adding more water and/or olive oil as needed to get your blade moving and to create a creamy, paste-like consistency.
- Pour into a smaller bowl and stir in the ¼ cup herbs. Taste and adjust seasonings. Place in the refrigerator while your socca cooks. When you’re ready to use the spread, you may need to thin it with a bit more water.
- When the oven is preheated and your socca batter has rested for 30 minutes, remove the preheated skillet from the oven with a pot holder, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and brush to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges of the pancake have set.
- Heat the broiler and brush the top of the socca with a little olive oil if it looks dry. Broil socca for a few minutes, until its top is spottily browned.
- Let your socca cool a bit before assembling with the almond spread. In the meantime, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat, and sauté the leeks with a pinch of salt for a minute or two.
- When your socca has cooled, layer on the almond herb spread (you might not use it all), sautéed leeks, sliced almonds, and a sprinkle of the remaining herbs.
**I made this in a 10-inch skillet (I don’t have a 12-inch 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.