One of the things I’ve been trying to make a dent in pre-move is my significant stash of chickpea flour. I picked some up initially for my unsuccessful attempt at sweet potato gnocchi, and got more from my mum as a Christmas gift. As of last Friday, I had five mason jars of varying sizes filled with chickpea flour. This felt excessive. I wanted to use some up.
Conveniently, I had a recipe card for Ottolenghi’s socca – chickpea-flour pancakes topped in sauteed onions and roasted cherry tomatoes. Ciara came over for dinner and we tried it out.
One of the great things about taking cookbooks out from the library is that you can copy out many delicious recipes for free. One of the cons is that when you’re copying out a bunch of recipes in a row, it can get tedious and your copying skills can get sloppy, especially if you’re trying to multitask while watching a movie at the same time. And every once in a while, you omit a key word from your recipe card; you might add an extraneous word too.
In this case, the omitted word was “water” in step 3. Two significant cups of water. And the extra word was “cups,” as in “2 cups egg whites” instead of the much more reasonable “2 egg whites.” And I was busy chatting and drinking with Ciara; didn’t notice. So my socca didn’t turn out quiet as expected. However! Still edible and delicious. (It probably helps that I’d never had socca before and had nothing to compare mine with.) I tossed the two most mangled pancakes in the compost and topped twice the toppings onto the two prettiest ones. Not bad at all for a recipe gone wrong.
Notes: In case you want to mimic my mistakes, let me say that 2 cups of egg whites is a serious number of eggs. It took us 14 or 16 large eggs. This would also be a good time to acknowledge Ciara’s epic egg-whipping skills – she whisked all 14-16 whites into perfectly soft peaks for our socca. Dinner guest extraordinaire! No need to tell her that the REAL recipe only called for two, ok? I’d like her to come back again.
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
5.5 tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 lb white onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp thyme leaves
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 3/4 cup chickpea flour
2 cups water
2 egg whites
creme fraiche to serve
1. On a baking tray lined with parchment paper, arrange tomatoes cut-side up. Drizzle with oil and cover in salt & pepper to taste. Roast at 275 degrees for 25 minutes. Set aside.
2. While the tomatoes are roasting, heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add 4 tbsp olive oil. Stir in onions, thyme, and salt & pepper to taste. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring, for a minute. Reduce heat to low. Stirring occasionally, allow the onions to cook slowly for 20 minutes. Add vinegar, stir, and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, water, 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 3/4 tsp salt, and a few generous grinds of pepper until smooth. Set aside. Use a separate bowl to beat egg whites into gentle peaks; pour into the flour mixture and carefully fold to combine.
4. Heat a frying pan over high heat, and add a touch of olive oil. Let it heat for a few minutes before reducing to medium-high. Pour in 1/4 of batter and allow to cook for about 2 minutes, or until bubbles begin to form on the surface. With a spatula, flip the pancake; cook for one minute. Remove the finished pancake to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brushed lightly with olive oil. Repeat three times with the rest of the batter.
5. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove, and top each pancake with a quarter of the onion mixture, spread evenly. Sprinkle with tomatoes. Return to the oven for an additional 4 minutes. Serve immediately accompanied with creme fraiche.