It is grey and wet outside; the perfect weather to celebrate the weekend by making a batch of pancakes for brunch.
On my search for more nutritious alternatives to plain wheat pancakes I stumbled across socca.
Socca, farinata, or cecina are pancakes made from chickpea flour. They originate from Genoa and are popular on the Ligurian Coast from Nice to Pisa. I have never had one cooked for me, and do not know how they should taste. The first recipes I experimented with turned out tasty but seemed too soggy. That is until I was in a bookshop leaving through Ottolenghi’s cookbook “Plenty”. I discover that he adds egg whites to the batter. Of course I had to try this. The result is an amazingly light pancake with the most lovely texture.
Since socca have become one of my favourite lunch dishes. I have been having them with all sorts of toppings: roast tomato and onion / avocado and tomato / fried egg and spinach….
(recipe as I remember it form leafing through Ottolenghi’s ‘Plenty’. Possibly he uses the egg yolk – I leave it out)
1 – 2 servings, depending on the topping you choose
70g chickpea flour (also called gram or besam)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg whites
- Combine flour, water, olive oil and salt. Whisk together.
- You can leave this mix to stand (5 minutes / 2 hours how much ever time you have). But this step is not necessary.
- Whisk the egg whites until peaks form.
- Carefully fold the egg whites under the batter.
- I make two 20cm pancakes, but you could also make smaller ones.
Ladle the batter into your frying pan. Use your spatula to distribute the batter evenly.
- Cook the pancakes on a medium-low heat until golden; about two minutes on each side.
- If you are making larger amounts you can keep the pancakes warm by placing in a 125C oven on a parchment covered baking sheet.
Currently my favourite topping: Spinach and fried egg
1 – 2 eggs
- Fry an egg sunny side up.
- Briefly allow some spinach to wilt. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Serve the socca, with spinach and egg.
Alternative topping: Roasted tomato and onion
(this is the original topping from Ottolenghi’s recipe)
250g cherry tomatoes
apple cider vinegar
- Halve tomatoes. Place on baking sheet, cut side up. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and bake in oven for 25 minutes at 120C (250F).
- Heat olive oil in a pan. Peel onion and cut into thick slices. Saute in oil. Add a sprinkle of thyme, salt, pepper. Cover and cook 20min until soft and golden. Add a splash of vinegar.
- Wilted spinach and fried mushrooms
- Rocket, avocado,(roast) cherry tomatoes
- Hummus and roasted red peppers