This spinach and pea socca/farinata is a simple savory chickpea flat-bread topped with a spinach pea pesto.
Since the weather is starting to warm up, I thought this would be a good time to share with you my spinach and pea socca recipe. It always reminds me of summers in France and is especially good with a cold glass of white wine or rosé.
If you’ve never heard of socca, it’s a simple but delicious dish that’s quite popular in Nice, as well as in parts of Italy where it’s referred to as farinata.
Part savory crêpe part flatbread, it’s a simple but delicious dish that’s destined to be your new summer favorite once you try it. Traditionally made from just chickpea flour, water and olive oil (with some freshly ground black pepper on top). It’s baked on a large round pan in a wood-fired oven, then rustically scraped off the pan into large slabs and served while still warm. It has a custardy interior and is golden and on top and crispy around the edges.
Of course, as usual, I’ve taken some liberties with tradition and put my own twist on the basic recipe. Not having a wood-fired oven available, I made mine in a pre-heated cast-iron pan in a very hot oven with great results. I also couldn’t resist dropping a few spoonfuls of spinach pea pistou into the batter and topping it with some extra spinach leaves before putting it in the oven.
Pistou, is pesto’s French cousin. Like pesto (only minus the pine nuts and parmesan), it’s an essential part of the classic French soupe au pistou but also makes an excellent sauce in its own. I’ve added spinach and green peas to my pistou for extra fresh flavor and bright color. Once baked the pistou creates flavorful pockets of green throughout the socca and the whole spinach leaves make for a pretty topping.
Unlike the original, I like to make my socca thick, so it’s a bit loftier and more foccacia-like than the traditional version. This makes it easier to pick up and eat with your fingers when sliced into neat wedges and also gives it more longevity out of the oven. As delicious as traditional socca is, it’s really best eaten right out of the oven or it tends to dry out and harden. A touch of baking soda in the batter is the secret to keeping this version so light and airy long after it’s come out of the oven. You’ll also want to plan ahead and make the batter the night before to allow it to rest properly. It comes together quickly but needs a good long rest before cooking which will both help with digestion and ensure that the flour is fully hydrated.
Serve it as an appetizer, or with some dressed salad greens, just don’t forget the wine!
This spinach and pea socca/farinata is a simple savory gluten-free chickpea flat-bread topped with a spinach pea pesto.
For the Socca:
- 1 cup/120g chickpea flour
- 1 cup/240ml filtered water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to top
- 2 teaspoons/10ml lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 Tablespoons/30ml extra virgin olive oil, divided use
- 2-3 Tablespoons of Spinach Pea Pistou (recipe follows)
- 1 oz/28g fresh baby spinach leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 9-inch cast iron skillet
For the Spinach Pea Pesto:
- 1/3 cup/43g cooked peas
- 1 oz/28g baby spinach leaves
- ½ oz/14g basil leaves
- 1 small garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon/5ml lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons/30ml extra virgin olive oil
- Place the chickpea flour, and salt in a large bowl and slowly whisk in the water and the lemon juice. Allow batter to sit covered for a few hours, or preferably overnight.
- In the meantime makes the Spinach Pea Pistou. Place the peas, spinach, basil, garlic, sea salt and lemon juice in the bowl of a mini food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the olive oil and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
- When ready to make the socca, preheat oven to 450° F. Measure 1 Tablespoon of olive oil into a cast iron skillet and place it in the oven to preheat.
- Whisk baking soda and remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil into the socca batter until smooth.
- Remove preheatd skillet from the oven and pour the batter into the skillet. Scatter small dollops of about 2 to 3 Tablespoons of the pesto across into the batter and top with the spinach leaves. Top with a few grinds of freshly ground balck pepper and a pinch of sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes, or until it's set and golden around the edges.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes on a wire rack before cutting into wedges and serving.
Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 245Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 565mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 6g
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