Socca is a gluten-free flatbread that you could stumble across on a trip to the Mediterranean. It’s often a blank canvas for favorite flavors, and in this recipe I’ve used some of my favorite vitamin-rich vegetables as well as a pesto that’s made from the tops of carrots—something that is often thrown into the compost bin without a second thought. Unlike a standard flatbread, this dish is packed with iron, zinc, folate, and essential fatty acids.
Prep: 25 min, Cook: 10 min, Yield: 4 socca
3 c chickpea flour
3 c warm water
1 Tbsp + 1 ½ tsp sea salt, divided
1 c olive oil, divided
1 ½ tsp fennel seed
1 ½ tsp cumin seed
2 bunches carrots, with tops
2 medium fennel bulbs
1 lemon, divided
¼ c sprouted walnuts
1 clove garlic
½ bunch parsley, divided, stems removed
½ bunch mint, leaves removed from stems
½ c Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
4 eggs or 3 oz speck (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine 1 ½ c chickpea flour with 1 ½ c warm water. Use a whisk to combine thoroughly. Repeat with remaining flour and water, and add 1 Tbsp salt.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add ¼ c of olive oil and warm it until it moves around the pan fluidly. Once hot, add fennel seed and cumin seed. Fry the spices in oil for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant and slightly toasted. Add oil and spices to chickpea batter and whisk to combine. Set batter aside for 30 minutes or overnight to fully hydrate the flour.
Remove the fronds from fennel bulbs and set aside for garnish. Remove the tops of the bulbs and discard. Cut each bulb in half and remove core by cutting a small triangle at the base. Create ¼” saute slices by cutting the bulb with vertically to include the root. Place fennel in a large bowl and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil and ½ tsp sea salt. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Set aside.
Remove the tops from one of the bunches of carrots and set aside for pesto. The other may be discarded. Cut the carrots into ¼” wide, 3” long sticks for roasting. In the same bowl used for fennel, add the carrots, 1 Tbsp olive oil and ½ tsp sea salt. Toss to coat and spread on a separate parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer.
Place fennel and carrots in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Flip vegetables and roast for an additional 6-8 minutes, or until vegetables are nicely browned.
While the vegetables roast, remove woody stems from carrot tops and place leaves in a food processor. Add ½ c of olive oil, ½ tsp salt, juice of ½ a lemon, walnuts, garlic clove, and half of parsley to food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Remove from processor and set aside in a small bowl.
Once vegetables are roasted and socca has set for at least 30 minutes, preheat broiler.
In a 9-inch oven-proof skillet, heat ½ Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Once oil moves around the pan fluidly, pour 1 c of chickpea batter into the pan, ensuring that there are no holes in the pancake. Top with ¼ of the roasted fennel. Cook 2-3 minutes, or until the edges of the socca begin to bake. Move to broiler and cook 5 minutes longer, or until top of socca is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool 2-3 minutes.
While the socca is cooling, chop reserved fennel fronds, parsley, and mint leaves. Combine together in a small dish. If you are serving an egg or a few pieces of speck with the socca, now is the time to prepare those things.
Using a spatula, loosen the edges of the socca until it is free from the pan. Slide onto a plate, topping with ¼ of roasted carrots, ¼ of Kalamata olives, an egg or speck (if desired), herbs, and 1 Tbsp pesto.
Notes: Socca can be easily improvised to contain any of your favorite spices or vegetables. It works very nicely with Indian flavors and chutney, or Italian herbs with sauteed greens and mushrooms.
Allergens: Nuts, Eggs (if using)