As longtime readers of this blog know, I’m no stranger to making my own pizza. At least, I wasn’t before I became a parent. These days, however, I’m not only short on time, but recognize that eating a big slab of white bread with cheese is probably not the best idea if I’m trying to keep energy levels up. Socca, a sort of flatbread made with ground chickpeas, is not only pizza-like enough to sate a craving, it’s inexpensive, gluten-free, full of protein and, best of all, can be made quickly and easily in a single cast-iron pan. It can also be topped with anything you happen to have on hand. You don’t even need cheese! (This time I’ve used feta, but other times I’ve gone without and it’s been just as great.)
I usually always have a couple jars of Costco sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives in the fridge, so using those as a base and adding some roasted vegetables and herbs (and, in this case, feta) makes for a quick, simple, healthy any-day-of-the-week meal. The day I made this particular socca I had a couple zucchini in the fridge, which I cut lengthwise and sliced into shoestrings with the julienne attachment on the mandolin, as inspired by this recipe. That way I didn’t even have to pre-roast anything; they cooked quickly just piled on top.
-1 cup chickpea flour (I once broke a blender trying to grind my own chickpeas, so do not attempt this unless you have a machine you know can handle it; it can be purchased from the bulk bins at natural-food stores)
-1 cup water
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-a couple teaspoons of optional chopped herbs (thyme, rosemary, etc.)
-1-2 crushed garlic cloves (optional)
-2 T olive oil
Stir all ingredients together and let sit up to 12 hours (but at least 30 minutes. The longer the better, though).
Toppings: anything you want! Here I sprinkled sliced kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes, feta, and the zucchini shoestrings, topping with thyme when it came out of the oven.
Heat oven to 450 F, with a 10- or 12-inch cast-iron skillet inside. (A 10-inch skillet, which is what I have, will result in a cakier texture, as seen above. A 12-inch will be flatter and crispier.) Remove pan, pour in a tablespoon or so of olive oil, swirl to coat. Pour batter into the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, or until edges are starting to set. Remove from oven, brush the top with olive oil (I use the oil from the sun-dried tomato jar) and add toppings. Bake 8-10 more minutes, until toppings are cooked and socca is uniformly firm. Slice and serve as with pizza.