I have been listening to people and the media talking about food. Two phrases that have caught my attention lately are to do with the idea of either – breakfast for dinner and or salad for breakfast. I love these ideas and their seems to be something comforting about them that implies ease and simplicity. Even better they can translate to either, family feasts or simple meals for one.
To make this idea work today I have been cooking simple but delicious chickpea flour pancakes called Socca or Farinata, a traditional recipe idea originating from Nice and the neighbouring Italian coastline. These incredibly versatile pancakes can form the base of an array of meals – breakfast, lunch, pre prandial or supper – they can be folded and used as a scoop on the side of your plate, rolled with your favourite mix of fillings traditional pancake/crepe style, cooked with fillings such as teaspoons of pesto and or mozzarella or feta, and basil in the batter before flipping (see the photos at the bottom of this page), or even poured and baked in the oven and used as a simple pizza style base, and if you have some left over, keep turning them in the pan until they dry and crisp, or bake them in the oven as you would for crostini and use like a cracker. The batter can be used after sitting for half an hour, or, it will be even better for you after soaking overnight and using the next day It does seem to go through some weird thick and thin stages while it sits but quickly whisked together again all is well. Continuing the brilliance – you can leave the batter plain or spice it up with herbs and spices, meaning you can work with the flavours to make them a little bit Italian, French, Indian, Mexican….
BASIC SOCCA PANCAKE MIX
Makes 3-4 pancakes
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- pinch of sea salt
How simple are those ingredients!
Whisk all together and put aside to rest for half an hour or more – overnight if you want – much longer than this and the mix starts to sour.
Heat your favourite heavy cast iron or non stick pan you use for pancakes with a little olive oil over a medium heat and proceed to pour in your batter. My pan is a medium size and a soup ladle of batter made one good size pancake/crepe.
Make sure to cook these pancakes thorough, I found the best method was to turn them over a couple of times while cooking.
In this photo I have cooked them for breakfast playing with the idea of scrambled tofu, cucumber with coconut yoghurt cumin and a little chilli, Kimchi and a little salad on the side. For the tofu I simply crumbled some fresh soft tofu and gently combined it with an Indian spice mix from Jen’s Cozinha range and sauted it gently in coconut oil, tofu is not something I have cooked or eaten a lot but I really enjoyed eating it like this and feel motivated to give it more of my energy in the future. I also wrapped the same ingredients – as you can see in my first photo – for variation on a theme. The crepes are delicate and when rolled need to be eaten with a knife and fork.
This worked really well both ways, with my theme for either a savoury breakfast or simple supper.
In the photo below I have made the mix a little thicker – 1 cup of chickpea flour to one cup of water, olive oil and salt and then I cooked the pancake a little longer turning 4 or 5 times until it dried out and was crisp. This made a really great cracker type base for my pesto, but would work as a base for any delicious spread and even if a little soft can be rolled with the filling and eaten as you would a nice soft pizza
This is simple summer cooking that you can prepare using whatever fresh seasonal ingredients you have to hand. Try it out – just don’t taste the mix before you cook it as it tastes awful and nothing like the delicious savoury cooked pancake. Happy cooking my friends and don’t forget to let me know how it goes for you