Last night I did that thing I usually do when I’m procrastinating. It also happens to be the same thing I do when I don’t have a care in the world and time on my hands. I search the internet for interesting food sites. Sometimes I find myself back at old favorites. Sometimes I discover new and interesting sites. Last night I found myself searching through Apartment Therapy: The Kitchn‘s best recipes of 2009. This, in turn, led me to discover David Lebovitz’s recipe for socca, a crisp, savory pancake that hails from the South of France. Mr. Lebovitz broils his in a cast iron skillet in the oven, giving it the crisp, almost burnt edges of a true socca.
Actually, I learned all about the socca in just a single night of research. I had never heard of it before. While I tend to refer to myself as a “foodie,” I sort of cringe when I hear that word — precisely because it seems to connote all-knowingness; a certain intellectual superiority when it comes to all things gastronomical. As the socca example indicates, I am far from all-knowing. This is probably why I read The Joy of Cooking when I go to bed at night and The Minimalist by Mark Bittman… and anything else that might help me learn a little more about my favorite thing. Food. As one of my law professors once told my class: “Don’t get so worked up if you don’ t know an answer. If you already knew all of the answers, you wouldn’t be here.” He was right. In fact, the only reason I do tend to call myself a foodie is that there seems to be no better way to sum up in just one word someone who reads cookbooks for fun, watches The Food Network and Top Chef like they’re going off the air, and spends more time than is probably healthy researching restaurants she most wants to try. In short, there’s no better way to describe someone who just. loves. food. Is there?
Anyways, back to the socca. I fluctuated a bit when deciding what to call this dish. But, since I suspect the version I made bears little resemblance to the true socca that’s found in Nice, and since the version I made looked and tasted an awful lot like a crepe, that’s what I called it here. The following version is actually more similar to a subsequent socca recipe I found on Chow.com. I just tweaked the proportions and added olives for a nice, salty compliment to the rosemary. The nice thing about this dish is that it’s naturally gluten free (traditionally made with chick pea flour), egg free and dairy free. No substitutions. No gums or starches. Just minimal ingredients and an awesome-tasting little treat. My mom would like me to add that “these crepes are the best things I have ever had” (her words). Since my mom is a wonderful cook and a discerning food critic, I would say this is a glowing review from a very tough judge.
Gluten-Free Rosemary Olive Crepes:
1 1/2 cups garbanzo bean flour
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for cooking
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, drained and patted dry, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
1. Whisk garbanzo bean flour, water and olive oil in a medium bowl until frothy and all lumps are removed. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for an hour and a half.
2. Remove batter from refrigerator and stir in rosemary and olives.
3. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat until very hot, about 4 minutes. Drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil on skillet and turn to spread evenly. Using 1/4 cup to measure, pour batter into skillet and turn immediately to spread evenly over whole pan (you’ll get the hang of it — but the first crepe is usually a trial run for me). Using a flexible, thin spatula, lift the edges of the crepe and undeneath to make sure it doesn’t stick. You do not need to flip. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until bottom is golden brown. Remove from pan.
4. Repeat step 4 with the remaining batter. Serve immediately.