As it is coming up to Shrove Tuesday I was looking around for pancake recipes to see if anyone had come up with a vegan version. As I was searching I found references to socca or farinata – a pancake from Southern France and Italy made with chickpea flour. Its ingredients were chickpea flour, olive oil and water. Yes! I love it when I come across a traditional recipe that has always been vegetarian or vegan and doesn’t need adapting.
A lot supermarkets stock chickpea flour. Look for it in the Indian section of a World Foods aisle. It may be called chickpea flour, or gram flour or besan.
The recipes for socca/farinata say that it’s usually served as a snack, with a good drizzle of olive oil over it. And that it’s baked in a pre-heated hot pan (rather like a yorkshire pudding) in the oven. Now, it’s my mother’s bad influence I’m sure, but I don’t like turning the oven on for one item, for so short a time. To make sure this recipe is OK, I have tried it in the oven and there’s no difference, to me anyway, between an oven baked one and one cooked on the stove like a normal pancake. I’m also jazzing it up with a salsa with all the flavours of the mediterranean.
Quick note: this recipe makes two thickish pancakes. This means that the top will not have set fully by the time the bottom is cooked. Do not, therefore, try and toss this pancake. You’ll just end up splattering batter everywhere if you do. Trust me, play it safe and do a quick flip with a fish-slice.
For the pancakes
50g chickpea flour
1 tbsp olive oil
50-60ml cold water
For the salsa
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp capers, chopped
10 black olives, stoned & chopped
a handful of parsley, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
Put the chickpea flour in a bowl.
Add the olive oil, season with salt & pepper.
Gradually stir in the water until you have the consistency of thick cream.
Put the salsa ingredients in another bowl and mix thoroughly.
Leave both for 20-30 minutes.
To make the pancakes, heat a very little oil in a small frying pan.
Pour half the mixture in and swirl until the mixture evenly covers the bottom of the frying pan.
Fry over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until the bottom has turned golden brown and the top is nearly set.
Using a fish slice, quickly flip the pancake over and cook for another couple of minutes, until it, too, is nicely golden.
Put on a warm plate and do the same with the rest of the mixture.
Serve one pancake per person with the salsa over the top.
Serves 2 as a light lunch or supper