Monday, August 18, 2008
I spent a big part of my childhood in Nice, France. On Wednesdays school would let out early, then my siblings and I had swimming lessons in the old part of town. The swimming instructor was a real drill-sergeant who would not take nonsense from anyone. I was the youngest one in the group by at least two years and had mastered whining to nails-on-the-chalkboard levels. One day, as I was dragging in my lane complaining that it was too hard, Monsieur Louis called me to the side and told me to close my eyes and open my mouth. I found the request amusing and obeyed his order. He inserted a pacifier in my mouth and ordered me to swim with it from then on. I'm not sure if I stopped complaining because of the cork or because I matured up. Either way, the best part of these afternoons was always the snack we would buy afterwards: either a slice of swiss chard tart or a portion of hot socca, a savory chickpea crepe. I loved them both but I have to admit that the socca stole my heart.
Socca: Savory Chickpea Crepes (serves 4)
This recipe is based on one I found in Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean by Chef Oleana. A wonderful book with many delectable recipes. I have altered the recipe quite a bit but hers is excellent as well. She ends by sprinkling fresh parmesan on the crepes and crisping it in the oven. She also adds 1 1/2 tsp of ground cumin.
Put the following ingredients in a blender:
1 1/2 cups of chickpea flour
1 1/2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
2 tablespoons of parmesan (optional-omit for vegan version)
1 teaspoon of salt
olive oil for frying pan
Blend to combine. Let batter rest for at least 30 minutes.
Heat an iron pan oiled with a generous layer of olive oil. Pour the batter at the center of the pan and carefully rotate the pan to form an even circle. Cook until edges become golden (about 5 minutes). Flip with a spatula and cook for another 3 minutes or so.