I hope those of you that celebrated the 4th, had a great holiday weekend! We took a little road trip but more of that later this week. Today, I'm talking about one of my favorite breads, socca and it's getting a huge makeover in color and flavor. Socca or farinata is one of the tastiest unleavened breads you can make at home! And more importantly, it's also simple to prepare. Typically, you'd make this with chickpea flour but I've made this version using green pea flour from Bob's Red Mill. The flour is a light shade of green but as soon as you add water to it, it turns into a bright green colored batter.
A couple of weeks ago, I asked M to pick up some harissa at our local Indian market which carries a lot of Middle Eastern and African ingredients too. He came back with a bottle of what looked like harissa but the label said otherwise. It was called "Lunu Miris". He said the store owner suggested trying this out instead. At first, I was hesitant and tempted to return it, then I said to myself, why not give this a shot and see what it's all about. It turns out lunu miris is a Sri Lankan sambol paste that's hot and spicy made from red onions, chilies and maldive fish. It's usually served as a condiment with meals and reminded me of Indian pickles. A little bit goes a very long way with this delicious concoction.
Except for the technique, this is a very atypical type of socca. For one, as I said earlier, this version is made with green pea flour and I've seasoned this to make it a little spicy but I also sprinkled some asiago and lemon thyme on top because I like a little cheese for contrast against all those flavors. This socca is tasty and really doesn't need to be eaten with anything else, just eat it hot, straight out of the oven!
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful, when preparing this socca:
- For a crispy and flavorful socca, refrigerate the batter for 48hours. It seems long but the crust is absolutely perfect and worth the time and patience. Like I said before, I tested 4 time intervals when preparing this socca: 5minutes, 1 hour, overnight, and 48hours. By far overnight and 48 hours are my favorites.
- If you can't find lunu miris online or at an international/Indian/Sri Lankan grocery store, then use harissa in the same amount. Of course you a little more or a little less to adjust the level of heat based on your tastebuds. They both are made from different spices so the final flavor of the socca will be different.
- I like my socca/farinata to be crispy, if you like it less crispy bake it for a shorter
- This is a gluten-free recipe. You can make it vegan by removing the asiago cheese and lunu miris (use harissa instead).
Here are some other bread recipes that you might like:
green pea socca/farinata with lemon thyme and lunu miris
yields: 4 servings
1 cup green pea flour
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
6 tablespoons olive oil + a little extra to brush
1 cup water, at room temperature
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced into rings
1 tablespoon fresh lemon thyme leaves + a little extra for garnish
1 teaspoon lunu miris or harissa
2 tablespoons asiago cheese, shredded
1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add all the ingredients from the green pea flour to the black pepper. Dry whisk to combine. Then add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the water. Whisk to combine to form a smooth slurry. There should be no visible lumps in the batter. Taste the batter and adjust the salt if necessary. Wrap the bowl with cling film or a lid and leave in the refrigerator overnight (maximum up to 48hours). (See notes above)
2. The next day, place a wire rack on the upper-second level of the oven. Preheat to 450F.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch cast iron pan or oven-safe skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil just starts to smoke, add the shallots and sauté until they brown. This will take around 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Fold the harissa, the lemon thyme leaves, and the browned shallots into the refrigerated pea flour batter using a silicone spatula. Coat the same cast-iron skillet with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Pour the batter on the pan and place it in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown and the bread begins to release from the sides of the pan.
5. At this point, carefully remove the pan from the oven and brush the surface very lightly with extra olive oil. Sprinkle the asiago cheese over the surface of the socca. Return the pan to the oven and broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese is starts to melt and just golden brown on the edges.
6. Remove the pan from the oven and using a silicone spatula remove the socca by sliding the spatula underneath the sides of the bread. Score and cut the socca into wedges (any size you desire) or strips. Garnish with a little extra lemon thyme if desired and serve warm.