Often when my parents come to visit us in Boston, my mom will cook up some delicious Indian food for us to eat (I'm a good cook, but my skills don't even come close to my mom's when it comes to Indian food!). One of these times, she bought a big bag of chickpea flour to make bondas, which are fried balls of spiced mashed potatoes dipped in chickpea flour batter. Mmmmmm, I'm getting hungry just thinking about them...Anyway, when my mom left, I had no idea what to do with the rather large quantity of chickpea flour that remained. It's been sitting in my pantry ever since. But this past week I came across a couple recipes for socca (also called farinata), which is a pancake made of chickpea flour, often seasoned with rosemary. Even though socca is traditionally eaten without toppings, the recipes I saw added some veggie toppings to make the dish more like a complete meal. I immediately knew that I had to try something similar. Based on the ingredients that I had around, I decided to top my socca with caramelized red onions, thinly sliced roasted potatoes, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Both Andrew and I loved the result - it made a lovely light meal with a green salad on the side, and the toppings worked really well with the rosemary and thyme seasonings that I used. I'm definitely going to be experimenting with more socca toppings in the future!
Do you have any suggestions for how to use chickpea flour?
Socca with caramelized onions, potatoes, and parmesan
3 tbs olive oil, divided
¾ cup chickpea flour
1 cup water
¾ tsp dried crumbled rosemary, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
½ lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ tsp dried thyme
½ cup coarsely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Good quality extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt, toss to coat with oil, and cook until onions are tender and caramelized, stirring frequently, about 35-40 min.
Preheat oven to 450 deg F and place one rack in the middle and one rack at the bottom of the oven. Place a 8-inch cast iron skillet on the bottom rack.
Whisk together chickpea flour, 1 cup water, 1 tbs olive oil, ½ tsp rosemary, and ½ tsp salt until smooth. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Let mixture stand for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange potato slices in a single layer on sheet. Lightly coat potatoes with cooking spray and sprinkle with a pinch of salt, ¼ tsp rosemary, and ¼ tsp thyme. Bake until potatoes are cooked through and lightly browned, about 15 min, tossing once halfway through.
Remove skillet from the oven and coat with 1 tbs olive oil. Stir batter and then pour it into the skillet. Bake at 450 deg F for 20 minutes. Top crust evenly with caramelized onions and arrange potato slices on top. Drizzle with good quality extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle cheese over potatoes, and bake for 5 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.