Well… my sister and my niece flew back to Australia ("BOO!" is my review for that), mum and dad sailed away on their cruise through the Panama Canal (as you do!), and my friend Kris (who was visiting for a week) just left after a very decadent "vegan binge tour of L.A." In case you are not getting the point already, this is my lame excuse for not having posted any new recipes the last couple of weeks. You see, I was too busy eating other people's treats!!!
Suffice to say, we all sampled as much of the fabulous vegan food on offer in L.A as we could possibly stuff into our greedy little stomachs, which were not so little by the end of the week. I practically had to roll Kris onto the plane! Or so she claims! (Ha! She is wafer-thin!) So, in honour of my beloved little stick-insect glutton, I am sharing my s'blended spin on a delectable rustic chickpea flatbread that I first fell in love with in Italy about 10 years ago. As I sit here missing her, I am fondly remembering making this with her and our friend Emily last Summer. We made three different versions of this flatbread. Each one of us threw in our own vegetables, herbs and spices, and we fell in love. I hope it will lead to love for you as you break this bread with your friends.
This ridiculously simple flatbread is made out of chickpea flour, water, olive oil and salt is absolutely delicious, cheap as chips, and super easy! It is literally child's play. Just blend and bake. This bread is high in protein, low in carbs, and is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, soy free and sugar free -- a perfect allergy free flatbread you can whip up in your blender and serve to the hungry hoards at your next feast.
Various incarnations of this chickpea batter are served in parts of Italy and France along the Ligurian Coast from Nice to Pisa. Each region serves it slightly differently, but they are usually served up as crispy thin pancakes or crepes. Probably the most famous version is the Socca served in Nice, but it is also known as Farinata or Cecina in Italy. This traditional street food dates back to about 1860, when it was commonly made in little wagons with built-in ovens. Nowadays, it is made in a cast-iron skillet or tin-plated copper baking pan and then placed in an open wood-fire oven. The crispy golden crust and slightly smokey flavour is what makes this Socca or Farinata fabulous.
This process is usually replicated (although it is never really as good as the ones you get in France and Italy) by partially frying in a pan and then placing each flatbread in the oven for about 5 minutes, and then flipping it and repeating the process until they are golden brown and crispy. But seeing as I am often a very lazy cook, I decided to make this recipe as simple as humanly possible. So "blend and bake" became my mantra. I must also admit that after endless tries to get my flatbreads crispy without sticking to the pan and tearing apart, I decided with frustration to forge my own Socca path and chose to do something slightly different -- to bake one big focaccia-style flatbread. The results were fantastic. If you grease the pan well, the flatbread just slides right out and looks gorgeous as one big wheel of yumminess on a bread board.
So I am "socca-ing" this one to you and look forward to hearing your feedback!