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summer squash and scallion socca
Makes 4 nine-inch wide pancakes
2 cups thinly sliced summer squash (zucchini, crookneck etc.) Best to use a mandolin or this slicer like I have
2 cups garbanzo bean flour (aka besan, gram flour, chickpea flour)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh italian parsley
2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
¼ teaspoon salt, plus extra for draining squash
pinch of pepper
4 teaspoons olive oil, for cooking
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, julienned (patted dry if packed in oil, or rehydrated and patted dry if dried)
parsley or other herb infused oil for garnish (see recipe below)
Note: The ideal pan to use for this is a 9 inch, well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Whatever you use must have non-stick properties, and be able to go into the oven. So nothing that’s just plain stainless steel, or that has a plastic handle.
First you must pre-salt the squash. This will remove a good deal of the moisture from the slices, which will allow your squash to get crisp, and prevent it from getting mushy and from introducing extra moisture into the pancake.
In a large mixing bowl, place the squash rounds, and two healthy pinches of salt. Gently massage the salt into the rounds to make sure they are all coated on both sides. Spread them out as best you can in a colander (or two), and let them drain for at least 30 minutes.
Turn your broiler on to high. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to your skillet, and heat it to medium. Place ¼ of the squash slices in the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan though, there should be spaces of bare pan between the squash. The squash should sizzle when it hits the pan. Right after you’re done placing the squash rounds, ladle ¼ of the socca batter into the the pan, and gently spread it out with a rubber spatula, so that it covers all of the pan. Some of the squash may get pushed around in this process, no big deal, just try to make sure they remain flat on the pan, and completely covered by the batter. If they push up the sides of the pan, just push them back down.
Make sure the batter is evenly distributed, and immediately scatter ¼ of the sun dried tomatoes over the top, gently pressing them into the batter with your spatula. Let it cook for 3 to 5 minutes. It will begin to dry out on top and around the edges. At the point where you can separate it from the side with a spatula and easily slide the spatula under the socca to see that it’s golden brown, it’s ready to be finished under the broiler. Take the whole pan and place it under the broiler. This should only take about 30 seconds. The sun dried tomatoes will burn and turn to ash pretty quickly, so keep an eye on them. When the edges of both the socca, and the tomatoes get a tiny bit of blackening on them, it’s done.
This adds a bright flavor and color to any dish that needs something green on it.
½ packed cup parsley leaves and smaller stems
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Have a small ice bath standing by. Add the parsley to the boiling water, and blanch for 30 seconds. Remove from the water and submerge in the ice bath. Once cooled. Gently squeeze excess water out of the parsley and pat dry with paper towels. Add parsley and oil to a food processor and puree. Pass mixture through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, discard the pulp and keep oil in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to a week.
Omit the zucchini and sun dried tomatoes from the procedure, and use double the amount of batter (in other words, use half of the batter for a batch, instead of ¼ of the batter). Add the batter directly to the heated and oiled pan and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Place the pan under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes until browned on the edges, and the top appears dry.
Remove from oven, turn off the broiler, and set the oven heat to 425° F. Brush the top of the socca with olive oil, or any spread or sauce you’d like, then add whatever toppings you choose (cheese, olives, zucchini, etc.). Place back in the oven and bake 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and let rest in the pan for 5 minutes. Cut in a pizza-like manner. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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