One of my favorite food of Nice and Liguria is Socca. It is basically a crepe made of chickpea or garbanzo flour. Chez Teresa is well known vendor in Cours Saleya. I have fond memories of a warm September morning - waiting for the Socca to arrive by bicycle. They are baked several blocks back into Vieux Nice and loaded into a heated box on the back of a bicycle. It is then ridden through the narrow alleys to the center of Cours Saleya where Teresa stands waiting in front of a 55 gallon drum with a hot hot fire going inside. She is the perfect French proprietress - efficient, friendly, sexy. I remember her heavily kohled eyes smiling while watching for the bicycle to arrive. She slices up the socca pan and scrapes off warm oily crispy slices. Perfect with a rough glass of rose.
It was the chickpea flour ingredient that caught my eye in this week's Minimalist's column in the New York Times. The recipe was for a Spanish tapas called Tortillitas. It is a no-egg pancake made with chickpea flour, shrimp, onion, herbs and olive oil. The recipe is a little different since it uses a mixture of both wheat flour and chickpea flour but still lovely light dinner. It reminded me a lot of egg foo young even though it did not have any egg. I suspect it was because I used green onions.
I reduced the recipe by 1/3 and made just one. It was a little thick but still yummy. Next time I'll either make a full recipe or add a bit more water. If you are looking to try something different from the Mediterranean - try it!
Tortillitas With Shrimp
Yield: 4 or more servings.
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped onion or scallions
About 1/2 cup raw shrimp, chopped, or scallops or other shellfish or fish
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped chives, parsley, thyme or cilantro
1. In a bowl, combine flours and baking powder with salt and pepper. Add a little more than a cup of water and stir to combine; consistency should resemble pancake batter (if batter is too thick, add more water, a little at a time). Stir in the onions, chopped seafood and herbs.
2. Put a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and film its bottom generously with olive oil. When oil is hot, pour in half the batter until it fills center of pan; spread gently with a spoon to form a large pancake.
3. Cook about 3 minutes, or until pancake is set around edges; flip pancake and continue cooking for another 3 minutes, then flip it again and cook for another 30 seconds or so, until it is crisp on outside but still moist inside. Remove from pan and serve immediately, while remaining batter cooks.