Nowadays, there aren’t too many of us that haven’t dabbled in the whole gluten free thing (even though I knew that it wasn’t a way to lose a few pounds, it didn’t stop me from trying!). Before this became “the thing to do”, people who suffered from celiac (a form of gluten and wheat intolerance that wreaks havoc on the intestinal tracts of these individuals) had no choice but to remove all things bread-related, and stick to a low carb diet higher in protein and veggies.
But, when the manufacturing companies got wind of this wildly popular eating trend, they jumped on the bandwagon and started producing (not so good) products that people are inhaling faster than you can say “next best thing since sliced bread”…
So, many of us foodies have started playing around with different recipes to give these people different options when dealing with their health issues (even if you aren’t celiac, many people are gluten intolerant and find that eliminating or reducing gluten and wheat reduces inflammation).
So, aside from baking (which, if you are also trying a gluten free diet you can either check out the gluten free tab on the side bar of this site for more recipes or you can try this gluten free flour blend if you want to try substituting it in your favourite recipe), there are other simple ways to easily introduce gluten free goods into your diet.
In France (namely Nice), you will find street vendors selling a crispy, savoury pancake called a socca made from chick pea flour and water. It’s usually served piping hot with a sprinkling of sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a glass of cold white wine. You can also find it in Liguria (which is close to the French border), but it goes by the name of farinata.
I made some small ones and served it with poached eggs for breakfast (served on a grilled portobello mushroom, with melted brie, fresh salsa) – this made an incredibly filling gluten free breakfast!
But it is so versatile, you can let your imagination run wild and create a bunch of exciting new things in the kitchen (like the socca pizza below).
Give it a shot – I promise you won’t be sorry!
1 c chick pea flour (also known as garbanzo bean flour or gram flour
1 c water
2-3 tbsp olive oil (plus more for the pan)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a bottle (this is a pancake bottle…I’ve had it for a year and never used it!) or a mason jar, mix the ingredients and give it a good shake; refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
2. On high heat, swish a bit (1/2 tbsp) of olive oil into a cast iron pan (this works best because if it’s seasoned – which means it has been used for a while and has a nice dark sheen – it will give the crepes a nice crispiness, but you can also use a regular stainless steel pan) and wait for the pan to get hot.
3. Pour 3 smallish circles in the hot pan and wait until the edges get browned; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Flip over and wait about 1-2 minutes; remove and keep warm if serving or keep in a plate, covered until ready to use.
5. If you are making a big crepe/pancake/flatbread, place the pan in a hot oven (500 degrees) for about 8 minutes.
6. Remove the pan from the oven, and add a touch of olive oil (not even a tablespoon) and swirl it around.
7. Pour enough batter to cover the bottom; place back in the oven and cook for a few minutes (or until the edges get brown); remove from the oven. If you are making a crepe, flip the crepe and place the pan back in the oven to get the underside brown; take the pan out of the oven and move the large crepe to a plate.
8. If you are making a pizza, flip the pancake and quickly drizzle about 1 tsp of oil onto the top of the socca and rub it with the back of a spoon.
9. Top with your favourite toppings (but be very light handed here)…I had this spicy tomato oil in the fridge, so I added about a tbsp of this as a base (you could use pesto, or olive paste or a small amount of tomato sauce).
10. Remember that the socca is very delicate so do not add too much to the top. I just added 4 think slivers of cooked portabello mushroom, a handful of diced red onion and shavings of parmagiano.
Once it’s baked, you can cut it into wedges and serve immediately.
This is a high-protein, gluten-free, easy to make, good for you snack. Trust me …this won’t be the first time you make this.
You might even go out of your way to find new friends who are gluten intolerant just so you can show off your new skills!!