Gluten-free Chickpea Pancakes with Chicken and Arugula
Made from gluten-free chickpea flour, Socca is a pancake that originates from the Côte d’Azur in the South of France. The first time I had them was not strolling along the Mediterranean but at a private event for my day job that I had the great fun of planning.
The dinner was at La Fromagerie, our neighborhood cheese shop that also has the distinction of being the best in the UK (ok that’s hard to prove, but we think it is).
The dinner took place in January and we wanted food from the South of France. We also wanted gluten-free items for Ernie and I since we could not eat any of the beautiful breads everyone else would have with the cheese course. We took over the store for the evening and it was beyond charming. The rooms were dimly lit with twinkly light from candles randomly set on shelves and tables throughout. The store shelves are heavy, rough hewn wood in aged greys as are the long tables with simple benches where all 28 of us could eat at two big tables, family style. The Socca pancakes were served with ratatouille as a starter.
In the South of France, Socca is a street food cooked over a portable brazier. This recipe does not require a wood fire. I cook them like regular pancakes and eat them with other things like chutney, curried chicken salad, spicy tomato sauce, ratatouille, egg salad with mustard and dill. Endless possibilities. Enjoy.
Eat them with chutney.
Add some greens.
What the heck make it lunch and add some diced cooked chicken and a bit of olive oil, which is where we started.
I also make them in small rounds that are handy for appetizers. Last week we served them with capatouille (or ratonata) Ernie’s blend of two of our favorite eggplant dishes (caponata and ratatouille). For that, I used fresh chopped rosemary but toasted cumin seed ground roughly adds a smokiness that goes great with chutney.
Also, the first time I made these I used chickpea flour; since then I’ve switched to gram flour which comes from the smaller, harder dal and the pancakes were less dense. In London I use Dove Gram Flour.
And finally, following Shaun Ahern (Gluten Free Girl), I weighed the flour rather than measure in a cup as different gluten-free flours weigh more or less so a cup measure is not as accurate.
Makes about six, 6″ or 12-15, 3-4″ pancakes
130-150g gram flour, sifted
1 teaspoon sea salt or a little less fleur de sel
1- 1 1/4 cups (275-300ml) water
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (or toasted crushed cumin seed)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Safflower oil for cooking (try to get organic)
Prepare the batter:
Mix all ingredients with a whisk until smooth then cover with a dish towel and
let batter rest for about one-two hours at room temperature. The batter should be quite thin.
1. Heat a heavy ( I use a Le Creuset cast iron pan) pan (I’m sure copper would work well too) over medium high heat until it’s quite hot (as for regular pancakes).
2. Coat the pan with a thin layer of safflower oil in pan and let it get hot.
3. Check your batter; it should be thin and runny like a heavy cream. Add more flour or water if the consistency is not right.
4. When you think the pan is ready, pour a test pancake in to ensure the pan is ready. If it sticks, let it get hotter, add a bit more oil and try again.
5. When the edges start to bubble, check to see if they are getting golden and flip. When done, place on a plate in a warm oven. The edges might curl up a bit, but that’s OK. Serve right away or at room temperature.
Serve with chutney, ratatouille or my new breakfast treat, hot mustard and smoked salmon with a slice of tomato on top.