Chickpea Pancake

Socca or Farinata

MAKES: 4 to 6 appetizer servings

TIME: 1 hour plus time for the batter to rest

This is one of those dishes you can toss together in the morning and forget about until dinner. The flavors are simple but wonderful, and the pancake is easy enough to dress up. The dominant flavor: black pepper. The onions and rosemary are strictly optional; many chickpea pancakes contain no more than flour, water, oil, salt, and pepper.

1 cup chickpea flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste

5 to 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced (1/4 to 1/2 cup, loosely packed, to taste; optional)

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves (optional)

Freshly ground black pepper

Pour 11/2 cups lukewarm water into a mixing bowl and sift the chickpea flour into it. (You can do this with a sifter or just by shaking the chickpea flour through a fine-meshed strainer; the goal is to eliminate any lumps of chickpea flour, which are ubiquitous.) Whisk the chickpea flour, water, salt, pepper, and

2 tablespoons of the olive oil together, cover the bowl with a towel, and let the batter sit on the kitchen counter for at least a few minutes and as long as 12 hours. Preheat the oven to 450В°F. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a well-seasoned or nonstick 12-inch pizza pan or skillet. Stir the sliced onion and rosemary leaves into the batter it will be a little thicker than it was originally then pour the batter into the greased pan. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the pancake is firm and the edges are set. Preheat the broiler and brush the top of the socca with another tablespoon or two of oil.

Set the pancake a few inches away from the broiler for a minute or two, just long enough to brown it spot-tily, but not long enough to color it evenly or burn it. Cut it into wedges and serve hot or at least warm.

Variations

Socca Pizza. A fabulous thin-crust pizza, but be careful not to overload it: Sprinkle your toppings onto the socca in the last 10 minutes or so of cooking and continue to bake (do not broil).

Chickpea Flapjacks. Great for serving with vegetable stews and dead easy: Make the batter using either the main recipe or the preceding variation. Instead of heating the oven, heat a griddle or a large skillet to medium-high and grease it well with olive oil. Spoon the batter onto the hot surface to make individual 3-or 4-inch pancakes. Cook until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes on each side.