Have you ever had socca? It is a lovely, lovely thing. It is essentially chickpea bread- a sort of flatbread, or really thick crepe, made of chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and salt. It has an umami rich flavor that I find addicting. I have used chickpea flour to make chickpea fries, which are delicious themselves, but those are a little more laborious. One of my favorite places for socca here in Philadelphia is Good King Tavern. They serve it with this melt-in-your-mouth ratatouille. My fiance and I use to order it to share, but I have learned, or I should say we have learned, that I might as well order it for myself as an appetizer to prevent any not-so-nice dinner moments that are sure to spoil your romantic date night out.
The inspiration for my version of socca, came from my other chickpea dish love- the popular Spanish dish of chickpeas and greens. I have made many different riffs on this dish, but the basic ingredients remain the same- olive oil, chickpeas, greens (kale, spinach, chard work well), a little tomato paste, garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, and maybe saffron if I am feeling luxurious. Just the smell of this dish simmering on the stove takes me back to Spain. It is a wonderfully comforting dish, and you add an egg- poached or fried- it does not matter- and you have yourself one special little meal.
For this, I seasoned the chickpea flour with a flavor-packed puree of blanched kale, olive oil, and some of those earthy, smoky spices. The kale is hardly noticeable in the final taste of the dish, but the little flecks of green are quite pretty- not to mention nutritious.
You can eat this plain because it is just that good, or serve it alongside a nice tangy goat cheese, some of my Zucchini Confit with Miso, fresh summer tomatoes, or even some ratatouille just like they do at Good King.
Spanish Spiced Kale Socca
1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon dried minced onion (optional)
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chickpea flour
2 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided, for cooking
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a 12-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven while oven preheats.
Blanch kale. Heat a medium pot of water to boiling. Add chopped kale and cook for 60 seconds. Remove from heat, drain, and remove as much water as possible from kale.
Place kale in a food processor or blender and add smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, dried minced onion, salt, and olive oil. Process until mostly smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk together chickpea flour with the water. Add pureed kale and spice mixture to bowl and stir until combined.
Remove hot pan from oven, and pour 1/2 tablespoon olive oil into pan, swirling to coat. Pour 1/2 of batter into pan, trying to create an even, smooth surface, and then return pan to oven and allow to cook for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden on the edges. Remove socca from the pan, and repeat with another 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and remaining batter. Enjoy! Makes 2 12-inch socca rounds.