Socca: A Chickpea Flour Savory Pancake (aka a “Cromlet”) with Fennel Olive Salad & Yogurt Sauce

Before there was Air BnB, there was blind chance.

Some of the most exciting twists and turns I took in my travels relied heavily on the element of blind chance. I didn’t have a smart phone, let alone a flip phone that worked abroad. There weren’t apps to help me find places to stay. There were, however, websites connecting farms and “willing workers,” so that’s how I came to make flatbreads in a chateau, in the French countryside, with two close friends, for a crazy British expat.

Did you follow that?

Socca: A Chickpea Flour Savory Pancake (aka a "Cromlet") with Fennel Olive Salad & Yogurt Sauce // www.WithTheGrains.com
When staying at MoonShine cabin, it’s only fitting to drink Moon themed wines.

That remote French village exists in my memory like a sort of dream. It was almost too magical, too quirky to be real. I wish I could have been a fly on the wine when the owner arrived at that hillside for the first time. He discovered the remnants of a chateau, a word I don’t use lightly. The stone structure had entire tree trunks for its beams, windowsills deep enough for nestling into a good book, and a hearth bigger than my kitchen. Its bones were old, but they were upright, not beaten by time, but somehow made all the prettier, like a weathered stone.

Socca: A Chickpea Flour Savory Pancake (aka a "Cromlet") with Fennel Olive Salad & Yogurt Sauce // www.WithTheGrains.com

The British fellow saw the potential in those old bones. He traded an old car, the very car that brought him to that chateau, and then he became a villager, sipping wine from time to time in the main plaza, skinny dipping in the thermal springs with the locals and infusing every nook and cranny of that home with nothing short of painterly strokes. It was impossible to take a bad picture at Chez Irving. Everything looked like a Flemish still life born of a master’s hand.

Socca: A Chickpea Flour Savory Pancake (aka a "Cromlet") with Fennel Olive Salad & Yogurt Sauce // www.WithTheGrains.com

My friends and I gathered eggs from the chickens who nested a few rooms over from our guest wing, and Irving showed us how to make chapati, his flatbread staple. Every time I think about chapati, I think of Irving and that stone kitchen with its window “drain,” from which the kitchen water splashed onto plants below.

Socca: A Chickpea Flour Savory Pancake (aka a "Cromlet") with Fennel Olive Salad & Yogurt Sauce // www.WithTheGrains.com

Irving’s village wasn’t a tourist destination. I’d have to consult old journals and photos to retrace my steps to his door. The path there involved an early morning, a train, a bus, a car ride, and as I said, blind chance and trust (and even a wheelbarrow at one point!). We really knew so little about him, but we had a good feeling, and the adventure did not disappoint.

Socca: A Chickpea Flour Savory Pancake (aka a "Cromlet") with Fennel Olive Salad & Yogurt Sauce // www.WithTheGrains.com

My visit to Chez Irving came at a time of continued unraveling. I had previously approached travel like an eager sponge, freshly unpacked from the plastic. I wanted to soak up every cultural attraction and FILL my days with activities, but Irving’s was a place where the main activity was nothing, just being, just lazing in the sun, occasionally collecting eggs and cooking meals to share. It was a lesson in simplicity, in how the right humans and the right interactions can really make a destination.

Socca: A Chickpea Flour Savory Pancake (aka a "Cromlet") with Fennel Olive Salad & Yogurt Sauce // www.WithTheGrains.com
Quickly and easily turn the Olive Fennel Salad, Wilted Greens and Yogurt Sauce into a pasta dish to make weeknight meals a breeze.

This notion of lazing, of just being, of watching the trees bend in the storm, then watching the light flicker across cedar siding, was the feeling I had at Blue Moon Rising, and appropriately, I returned to making simple flatbreads on a stovetop.

Socca: A Chickpea Flour Savory Pancake (aka a "Cromlet") with Fennel Olive Salad & Yogurt Sauce // www.WithTheGrains.com

My journeys have not taken me as far as the French countryside of late, but they have taken me to peaceful corners of my region, where I was reminded that simplicity and uniqueness are the main merits of journeys, no matter how far the in between is.


Socca  (The “Cromlet”) with Fennel Olive Salad & Yogurt Sauce
Recipe adapted ever so slightly from Bon Appétit

About this Recipe: Crepe meets Omelette, get it? This savory, vegetarian pancake is perfect for small kitchen cooking, especially on weeknights, as it comes together quickly. Double the olive fennel salad, whip up some extra yogurt sauce, wilt some more greens, and throw it all on a lentil pasta the following night to stretch your weeknight meal planning.

Yield: Serves 2

Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (2% or full-fat)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon honey
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Directions

Stir yogurt, lemon juice, oil, and honey in a small bowl to combine; season with salt and pepper.


Fennel and Olive Salad

Ingredients

1/2 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
1/3 cup torn pitted olives (I used a Greek olive mix)
1 Tablespoon avocado oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Directions

Toss fennel, olives, oil, lemon juice, and honey in a medium bowl to combine; season with salt and pepper.


Socca and Assembly

Ingredients

1/4 cup organic buttermilk or water
1/4 cup chickpea flour

2 large eggs (cage-free/organic)
Seasoning mix of choice* (see below)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
3 Tablespoons avocado oil, divided

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon grated peeled ginger
1 bunch small hardy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, or collard), ribs and stems removed, leaves torn

1 lemon wedge

4 ounces maitake or oyster mushrooms, torn into large pieces

1–2 teaspoons Bragg’s liquid aminos (or tamari soy sauce)

Cromlet and Assembly

Whisk buttermilk into chickpea flour in a medium bowl. Let sit until slightly thickened, 12–15 minutes.

Whisk in eggs; season with salt and pepper and seasoning mix of choice.

Meanwhile:

Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a medium cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add ginger and cook, stirring, just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add greens by the handful, tossing until wilted before adding more. Cook, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes; season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Transfer to a plate.

Wipe out skillet and heat 1 Tablespoon oil in skillet over medium-high. Cook mushrooms, undisturbed, until deeply browned, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook, tossing occasionally, until other side is deeply browned, about 5 minutes. Season with Bragg’s liquid aminos, to taste. Transfer to a plate.

Wipe out skillet and heat remaining 1 Tablespoon oil in reserved skillet over medium-high. Pour in batter and cook, undisturbed, until the surface begins to bubble (much like a pancake) and bottom is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Turn and cook until light golden brown (edges will curl slightly), about 1-2 minutes.

Transfer cromlet to a plate. Top with wilted greens, mushrooms, fennel olive salad and yogurt sauce.

*Try one of the following seasoning mixes:

A pinch each of cracked coriander seeds, cracked cumin seeds, ground turmeric, and sesame seeds and a small pinch of cayenne pepper
A pinch each of za’atar, crushed red pepper flakes, cracked cumin seeds, and hemp seeds
A pinch each of chopped rosemary and cracked fennel seeds

*I used za’atar, red pepper flakes and turmeric


For Leftovers:

Prepare Red Lentil Pasta according to instructions. Top with wilted greens, fennel olive salad and a dollop of yogurt sauce.

Enjoy!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Leave a Reply