Crisp Gluten-free Flatbread - Socca

     Our friend, Greg Stuart, is always sending links to food articles that appear in New York or Los Angeles newspapers. This affords us the opportunity to keep up with what’s happening on the big city food scene and I’ve found some great recipes as I peruse those links. I was fascinated when I ran across the recipe for Socca – a crisp flatbread make from gluten-free chickpea flour. The problem – chickpea flour was not easy to find! Finally found a garbanzo & fava flour at Glen’s Bulk, southwest of Hutchinson, Ks. (phone 620-662-2875) . The blend was made by Bob’s Red Mill® so if your grocery store carries this line of products, you might see if they would order this particular blend if you are interested in trying the recipe.
      Garbanzo beans and chick peas are one of the same; fava refers to another type of beans so I figured the garbanzo-fava flour would work, and it did. Served it with a chef salad for lunch and it was yummy!
     I followed the recipe as provided in Mark Bittman’s article, “Sweet Treat From Nice” (with a few notations added). I am also including Mark’s article below the recipe — interesting reading!

     Check out other via our Healthy Alternatives tab (at the top of the page).

Socca (Farinata) Yield: 4 to 6 appetizer servings.
Time: about 5 to 10 minutes assembly / 20 minutes in oven
1 cup chickpea flour 

1 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon, at least, ground black pepper 
(I added a heaping teaspoon and thought it was just right; it was a little spicy for Barry’s palate)
4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil 

½ large onion, thinly sliced, optional 
(the onions and rosemary both added a great flavor boost)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, optional

1.     Heat oven to 450°. Put a well-seasoned or nonstick 12” pizza pan or cast-iron skillet in oven.
2.     Sift chickpea flour into a bowl; add salt and pepper; then slowly add 1 cup lukewarm water, whisking to eliminate lumps. Stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover, and let sit while oven heats, or as long as 12 hours. Batter should be about the consistency of heavy cream.
3.     If using onion and rosemary, stir them into batter. Pour 2 tablespoons oil into heated pan, and swirl to cover pan evenly. Pour in batter (make sure it is evenly distributed  - otherwise the edges will be too crisp and the middle too thick – I used an off-set metal spatula to distribute the batter), and bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until “pancake” is firm and edges set. Heat broiler, and brush top of socca with 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil if it looks dry.
4.     Set socca a few inches away from broiler for a few minutes, just long enough to brown it spottily. Cut it into wedges, and serve hot, or at least warm.

Nutritional Analysis per serving (based on 4 servings of one 64g portion) : Calories 241, Fat 15.9g (Saturated Fat 2.1g, Cholesterol 0mg), Sodium 588mg, Carbohydrate 150.2g (Fiber 6.7g, Sugars 0.6) Protein 6.3, Vit A 1%, Calcium 2%, Vit C 3%, Iron 2%.

“Street Treat From Nice”  by MARK BITTMAN
     THERE are few better ways to greet guests than with socca, the chickpea "pizza" from Nice. It's dead easy, impressive, new to even many sophisticated eaters and conveys a sense of your own competence like nothing else.Known as farinata across the border in    
     Liguria, this is essentially a large pancake made from chickpea flour, water, olive oil and a lot of black pepper. Bakers in Genoa often add onion and rosemary.
     But its main attractions are these: The batter is quicker to put together than pancake batter; it can rest for an hour or even half a day, or not; it is baked in a normal oven, finished in a broiler and done in about 20 minutes; it's served hot or warm, to be eaten with the fingers. And it's irresistible.
     And while chickpea flour is sold in few supermarkets, it is readily found at Indian, Middle Eastern and natural foods markets.
     If there is a drawback it will come when you serve socca to a well-traveled person who will tell you that to make it properly you need a wood-burning oven and a copper pan. Such a person may also say that the combination of Mediterranean chickpea flour, water and olive oil is unique, so that socca cannot possibly be duplicated anywhere else; that even the Ligurian version is inferior (or, if the guest is an Italophile, that the Provençal version is no good); and so on.
     Forget it. I've eaten and made both socca and farinata in Nice and in Genoa, and I've made it at home a hundred times. It is foolproof and 90 percent as good made in your oven as when whisked from the wood-burning ovens of Nice to the street stands in the market. It's so simple and its flavors are so pure that unless you buy rancid chickpea flour you will get it right the first try.
     Now the details. Sift the chickpea flour into your bowl, so it doesn't lump, and use a whisk to combine it with water. Do not skimp on black pepper or olive oil; the pepper should really hit you when you take a bite. Preheat your skillet or pan in the oven. When the socca is done, put the pan on the table, cut it into random shapes, hand out napkins and have at it. If more than six people are present, get started making another. --

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