Socca w Ramp Pesto & Sautéed Leafy Greens
While looking for ways to elevate the previous evening’s dinner leftovers (sautéed dandelion and spinach leaves) and repurposing them for a lovely lunch – I know the times we live in now aren’t too joyful, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to find joy in anything we can – I decided upon whipping up a batch of pesto and making a Socca as a vessel for all the green goodness. When it was ready to serve, I scattered some crumbled Feta on top, a handful of hemp seeds and some parsley and with that, lunch was on the table.
Socca, the half pan-fried, half oven-broiled traditional French flatbread made from chickpea flour, is really easy to make. In case you don’t have chickpea flour, feel free to make a regular flatbread; here is my favorite recipe, it’s by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall at River Cottage – the ingredient list is minimal and the results are great.
Since we’re not running around buying each and every ingredient required by a specific recipe, please feel free to use any leafy greens you have on hand, like Mangold or Kale or do an all Spinach dish, why not? Perhaps you’re lucky enough to live nearby a green patch of land with dandelions to forage in which case remember, every part of this plant is edible, so you can sauté the stems as well and even use the flowers to decorate! Use store bought pesto if you have that on hand or make one using basil, arugula or other leafy greens you might have on hand.
And as a final thought: if you, like me, are lucky enough to get your hands on some of these leafy Spring greens, keep in mind that they are packed with nutrients, vitamins & minerals and take the time to appreciate them while sitting down to eat them, they are such a powerhouse in aiding our immune systems. Dandelions especially are rich in vitamin A & K, iron, zinc and more.
Socca w Ramp Pesto & Sautéed Leafy Greens
120g/1 1/3 cups chickpea flour
250ml/1 cup water
130ml/1 cup olive oil, plus extra for frying
½ tsp fine sea salt
30g walnuts (Almonds or pecans work too), roasted in an oven preheated to 180C/350F for about 5-8 minutes, until fragrant, cooled
30g/1/3 cup Parmesan, grated (omit for a Vegan version)
50g/2 oz. Ramp leaves, washed and dried
A large handful of green leaves (I used dandelions and spinach, but feel free to use whatever green leaves you have on hand)
1 garlic clove
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
35g/1/3 cup Feta cheese (or hard sheep/goat or cow cheese, optional)
A small handful of hemps seeds (optional)
A small bunch of parsley leaves
To make the Socca, place chickpea flour, water, 50g/3Tbsp olive oil, oil and ½ tsp salt in the bowl of your food processor or blender and whizz until well combined, about 30 sec. Alternately, whisk manually until well combined. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to rest for 30 minutes while you make the Pesto and the sautéed Greens.
To make the Pesto, place walnuts, Parmesan, Ramp leaves and a little salt and pepper in the bowl of your food processor or blender and start processing. With machine running, add 65ml/½ cup olive oil and process until desired consistency is reached (I like mine smooth for this dish, so I processed a while longer.
To sautée the greens, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and add one crushed garlic clove. Once hot, add chopped onion and sweat for about 5 minutes on low heat, until onion is translucent. Add leaves, a pinch of salt and cook until wilted, for a few minutes, preferably with a pair of tongs but a wooden spatula will work fine too, turning the leaves constantly so they cook evenly. Once done, remove pan from heat.
Preheat oven to 220°C on broiler function. Pour 1 Tbsp olive oil into a large oven-proof non-stick frying pan to cover the base. Heat over a medium-high heat then pour in the Socca batter. Cook for 8-10 minutes until it starts to brown at the edges. Place frying pan under grill in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes until brown on top. Transfer Socca to a plate and slather pesto on top. Top with the sautéed greens, scatter with the feta, sprinkle with hemp seeds if using and decorate with parsley leaves.