janet @ the taste space

Socca Pissaladière

In Mains (Vegetarian) on December 3, 2010 at 6:49 AM

Am I even talking in English? Socca Pissaladière? Would it be any worse if I said Ottolenghi’s Socca Pissaladière? Even more gobbledygook!

I’ll take it one word at a time.

Ottolenghi: Yotam Ottolenghi is a British chef that writes The New Vegetarian column in The Guardian. He pushes the concept of traditional cooking, incorporating his Middle Eastern background to today’s best dishes. He has two popular cookbooks: Ottolenghi and Plenty.

Socca: A thick, heavier French chickpea flour crepe. A rustic dish that is supposed to be eaten with your hands.

Pissaladière: A French pizza-like appetizer without tomato sauce or cheese. Instead your dough is typically topped with sautéed onions, garlic, olives and anchovies.

Putting this all together, with Ottolenghi’s twist on the two traditional recipes, we have a light meal with a thick chickpea pancake as the base for lovely caramelized onions and oven-roasted tomatoes.  I first spotted this recipe in his cookbook, Plenty, but a slight variation is also posted through The Guardian. In the cookbook, there is more chickpea flour and 2 whipped egg whites are added to the batter. I didn’t feel like fiddling with extra egg whites, so I stuck to the recipe online. David Lebovitz also has a socca recipe and a key point he makes is to rest the batter over 2 hours before you start to bake it. I have added that to the recipe as well.

The result of this is a thick, hearty yet still kind of light, nutty pancake that is smothered with silky caramelized onions with a hint of thyme and topped with oven-roasted cherry tomatoes. I liked how the flavours complemented each other so well. My gripe, though, now that I am making all my weekday meals on the weekend is that the leftovers are subprime. Definitely not bring to work kind of leftovers. I can manage some semblance of the original deliciousness if I pop it back in my oven for a few minutes to perk up. But that only works at home.

As well, I had a bit of difficulties making the pancakes. I usually use a non-stick frypan but this recipe calls for a smaller pancake, made in a smaller frypan. My smallest frypan isn’t nonstick, so my socca stuck a few times. Still tasted great, though. Next time, I may default back to my non-stick frypan even if that means the pancakes/crepes will be bigger.

Socca Pissaladière

This is my submission to this month’s AWED featuring dishes from France and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Priya.

Socca Pissaladière

200g chickpea flour (aka gram flour)
450 ml water
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I used 1.5 pints)
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
800g yellow onions (around 5 medium), peeled and cut into rings
2 tbsp picked thyme leaves (or 2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp white-wine vinegar

Crème fraîche to serve (omitted)

1. In a bowl, use a hand whisk to mix together the chickpea flour, water, one and a half tablespoons of olive oil, half a teaspoon of salt and some pepper. The batter should be totally smooth. Cover and let sit for 2 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 250F. Spread the tomatoes, cut side up, over a small baking tray, sprinkle over some salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil, and bake for 25 minutes – they are not supposed to dry out completely, just semi-cook.

3. Next, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and thyme, season and sauté, stirring all the while, over a high heat for about a minute. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking the onions for another 20 minutes, stirring them occasionally. You want them soft, sweet and golden brown, but not very dark. At the end, stir in the vinegar, taste and adjust the seasoning.

4. Increase the oven temperature to 325F. Line two oven trays with greaseproof paper (or a silpat), brush this with a little oil and set aside. Take a small nonstick frying pan, roughly 14cm in diameter at its base, and brush very lightly with oil. Place the pan over a high heat for a couple of minutes, then reduce to medium-high and pour in a quarter of the socca batter (I used more than 1/2 cup each time and got 5 pancakes) – it should be about 0.5 cm thick. After two minutes or so, air bubbles will appear as it sets. Use a palette knife to release the pancake’s edges from the pan, then carefully lift and turn over. Cook for two more minutes, then transfer to the lined oven tray. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Put the pancakes in the warm oven for eight minutes, then remove and set aside until ready to serve.

5. Spread the pancakes with plenty of onion – they need to be covered all over – then top with tomato halves and return to the oven to heat up, for about seven minutes or so. Serve warm with crème fraîche on the side.

Serves 4-5.

  1. Am an addict to pissaladiere, looks super tempting Janet..thanks for sending to AWED..

  2. Wow, that is a new and interesting recipe. Looks delicious. Thanks for sending it to my MLLA event, but please do link it to my announcement page and not my blog in general.

  3. That is a great variation of the traditional pissaladière and Mr Ottolenghi is my new culinary hero 🙂
    Your pics are very tempting!

  4. Oh wow. I love this! This is my kind of appetizer. Light and won’t make it so you are too full for dinner!

  5. I have recently starting making socca and really enjoying it. So much that I finally bought a cast-iron pan. I promise, it’s worth the investment! They’re not that expensive either 🙂

  6. I was looking at Ottolenghi’s Socca recipe just last night and thinking that I should try it. I have made the Italian version of socca, called farinata. Your combination dish looks very nice. Happy New Year!

  7. Yum!! I really want to try socca and also have been wanting to try some Ottolenghi recipes. I keep seeing people posting variations of his yummy dishes!

  8. What a great idea to mix, Socca and pissaladière, two Nicoise specialties together!

  9. I absolutely love La socca! It is a delicious Niçoise speciality! I too have written a small article about the Socca should you like to take a look.

  10. […] So, I simmered my brown basmati rice and green lentils with a cinnamon stick. In a separate skillet, I caramelized my onions. You could start the lentils and rice after the caramelized onions are finished so they can get added to the cooking liquid, but I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to cook my onions, low and slow, to get the perfect caramelized onions. Since I had to wait 40 minutes for my lentils and rice, this timed out perfectly. I threw in some onions into the lentil-rice mixture before it finished and kept half for the garnish. Using Rob’s large non-stick wok helped me get perfect caramelized onions, much better than when I added them to my socca with oven-roasted cherry tomatoes. […]

  11. […] know I’ve briefly mentioned it before, but I tend to do the majority of my cooking on the weekends and eat leftovers all week.  Vegan […]

  12. […] up buying a farinata to go. The farmer told me it was one of his most popular items. Unlike my socca, which was a thin chickpea pancake with toppings, this was a thick slab of a crustless chickpea […]

  13. […] – Pomegranate, Snap Pea and Barley Salad with Dill and Allspice – Roasted Celeriac and Lentils with Hazelnuts and Mint – Sea Weeds and Greens Salad (aka Kelp Noodles with Wakame and Radish Sprouts) – Grilled Eggplant and Mango Noodle Salad with a Sweet Chili Dressing – Cabbage and Kohlrabi Salad – Ultimate Winter Couscous – Socca Pissaladière […]

  14. […]  socca with cherry tomatoes and creme fraiche + chocolate dipped […]

  15. Lovely picture! Do try the Ottolenghi version with wished egg whites. Since I discoverd them last year I made my socca the way you do, but today I added to four whisked egg whites. I loved the result. I will only making them with egg whites from now on. (I remember reading the recipe somewhere but not find it back on line. I do not know whether Ottolenghi uses the yolk. I left them out….).

  16. […] – Miso Braised Cabbage – Thai Noodle Salad with Mango and Lima Beans – Lemon-Kissed Tomato Barley Risotto – Caramelized Fennel and Quinoa Salad with Cilantro and Dill – Snowpeas, Snap Peas and Fava Beans in a Tomato-Cardamom Sauce (Mixed Beans with Many Spices and Lovage) – Quinoa Wraps with Sweet Potato and Dried Iranian Lime and a Sweet Tahini Dipping Sauce (combination of Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potato and Dried Iranian Lime with his Sweet Tahini Sauce) – Roasted Celeriac and Lentils with Hazelnuts and Mint – Sea Weeds and Greens Salad (aka Kelp Noodles with Wakame and Radish Sprouts) – Grilled Eggplant and Mango Noodle Salad with a Sweet Chili Dressing – Cabbage and Kohlrabi Salad – Ultimate Winter Couscous – Socca Pissaladière […]

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