Funghi "Provenzale" con Formaggio di Capra sulla Frittella Speziata di Farina di Ceci
Mushrooms Provencale with Goat Cheese on Spicy Gram Flour Pancake
is amazing what incredible information you can find on the internet.
For example that there is a tradition of making flat breads and pancakes
out of chick-pea, or gram flour in many countries. India- sure, Sicily
with it's thicker, deep-fried "panelle", fair enough, the Middle East-
ok... but France? Indeed yes!
In France, this kind of
unleavened pancake or bread, made of gram flour has a tradition all of
it's own. Socca, as I discovered today, is popular in and around
Nimes... too bad that I never saw it, nor heard any mention of it on the
2 trips I have made out there! But that is nothing that can't be set
straight- even from the comfort of my own home!
the Southern French "Socca", is flavored simply with salt, pepper and
cumin seed. And it is definitely very delicious- Sicilian "Panelle"
after all, are seasoned ONLY with salt and pepper and taste great when
deep fried. But no- I am all for flavor, adventure and SPICE. So here is
my version! Grab hold of your taste buds!
I stirred 1 cup of lukewarm water into 2 cups of gram flour. I
stirred it with a whisk until there were no lumps and then added 1
tablespoon of Raz al Hanout Rouge and 1 teaspoon of Tandoori spice, as
well as 1 teaspoon of cumin, salt, pepper and a little olive oil. I
stirred this all in thoroughly and let the mixture sit for 20-30
In the meantime, I prepared mushrooms. I never wash mushrooms-
there is nothing worse than having soggy, waterlogged mushrooms- and
they are going to soak up water if you hold them under the tap or worse
still, plunge them into a bowl. Why go and do that, when cleaning them
more sensibly is so simple? Simply take a small, sharp knife, and from
the underneath, grab the edge of the mushroom, near the stem, and peel
away the top layer of skin... you will see that it is very easy to do.
Peel away the outer surface of the mushroom all the way around and
voila! A spotlessly clean and dry mushroom, ready to sautée!
But first things first- let's get one frying pan nice and hot,
add a very light drizzle of olive oil and pour in the gram flour pancake
mix. Just let it sit at a moderate heat for 5-6 minutes, until the top
surface begins to dry out- this means it should be firm enough to flip
over. Once you have done that, turn up the heat on another burner really
high, get another frying pan on there- and get ready to give those
mushrooms the treatment!
In this case, the treatment means sautéeing with a little crushed
garlic, some clarified butter and olive oil, Herbs de Provence, salt,
pepper and a little lemon juice. Keep the heat high and keep the
mushrooms moving! After 2-3 minutes, add some finely sliced Spring onion
and finely chopped parsley and chives. Grate a little nutmeg onto them
and after a further 2-3 minutes, the mushrooms should be ready- and so
should the hot and spicy socca!
Serve the mushrooms on top of the socca, with some crumbled goat
cheese, a generous pinch of chili flakes, a squeeze of lemon juice and a
final light drizzle of olive oil... and enjoy! What a wonderful
vegetarian meal! I am sometimes amaze even myself!