Monday, July 21, 2008

Socca, Skillet Flatbread

What a wonderful weekend!!! It’s not often that the Red Sox get swept, of course, when you are playing the Angels, you have to expect it!!! I can’t lie, Friday night I was a little jealous of Jon Box and Jay when they left our house to go to the first game in the series. Terry and I were content to stay home with Figgins and watch the game on TV. When Jay ran back into the house and told us that Mike had two extra tickets…for FREE…right on THIRD BASE WHERE CHONE FIGGINS PLAYS…I was ecstatic!!! I quickly rushed upstairs to change into all of my Halo gear, and we were off to the game. What a hit fest, the Angels won 11-3 and I was a happy lady.

We were invited to Brian and Regina’s son Caleb’s second birthday party on Saturday night. Because he has all of his shots and can finally be out in public, we brought Figgins. There were four little boys there, and Figgins was their entertainment. It was so enjoyable to watch them run around and play. The party was so much fun and the food was amazing, Brian grilled marinated chicken and carne asada, and Regina made wonderful rice and beans. We ate until our bellies were beyond full.

There was an unusual chill in the air Sunday morning, very unlike the weather we normally experience this time of year. We decided to take advantage of this crisp atmosphere and go on a long walk through the historic circle of Orange. We drove up to Chapman University’s football field and walked to Watson’s drug store for some breakfast. This was by far the longest walk we have taken Figgins on and he did very well. We had to stop about a million times for him to smell everything in sight. On our way home Terry spotted a little stand on the side of the street and we pulled over. It had beautiful small tomatoes placed into Ziploc bags. The sign said “1 pound for $1.50.” There was a little container on the stand, we placed three dollars into it and helped ourselves to two bags of these home grown tomatoes. After returning home I realized that I had not cooked a thing in days, the urge struck, so I made us an afternoon snack. After our big breakfasts, I knew this would be just the thing to tide us over until dinner.

At the end of May, Bob, a staple of the Cooking Light BB posted a recipe for Mark Bitterman’s Socca, Oven Skillet Flatbread. We often get flatbread at the Lazy Dog, our favorite restaurant, so this recipe caught my eye immediately. I don’t know what took me so long to make it, but it could not have been better! Extremely easy to make and very versatile in its end product, this is something that will become a regular occurrence in the Williams house.

Socca, Oven Skillet Flatbread

Mark Bitterman


1 cup chickpea flour, or whole wheat flour, or corn meal, or a mixture

1 to 3 cups water depending on the desired consistency

Pinch of Salt

2 T or so of olive oil

Any add ins you would like


Preheat the oven to 450

Whisk together the flour, water, salt and any add ins

Pour olive oil into an oven proof skillet, put into oven until fragrant, but not smoking

Remove and pour mixture into skillet

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes

Keri Conan, a food writer from Kansas City, who often collaborates with Mark Bitterman had this to say:

“Heat the oven to 450. Start with 1 cup of whole wheat flour or cornmeal. (Or a mixture. I’m also guessing this technique would work for just about any whole grain flour; buckwheat would turn out like a giant blini, right?) If you want a creamy, custardy texture, add 3 cups water. If you want something more cracker-like go with 1 cup of water. Anywhere in between will fall somewhere on the soft-crisp continuum; I’ve settled on 1 1/2 cups. Add a good pinch of salt and whisk until smooth.

You can let the batter sit on the counter as long as you like, up to 12 hours, covered with a towel. The flour obviously absorbs more water and the mixture will separate, so you whisk it again. But the benefits are subtle. Just let it sit while the oven heats.

Like everything about this deal, the pan is also variable. You want a well-seasoned ovenproof skillet or rimmed pizza pan (note from Mark: or a socca or farinata pan, made of tin-lined copper and sold in Provence and Liguria); use a 10-inch and the flatbread will be marginally thicker than it would be in a 12-inch pan. Pour enough olive oil into the bottom so it sloshes around just a bit. If you want to add chopped onion, shallots, garlic, or herbs, now is the time. Pop the pan in the oven to heat until just fragrant (not smoking) then pour the batter in. You’ll see it swirls around and bubbles, cooking fast in some spots, pooling oil in others. All good. You’re just upping the flakiness factor.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. It will release from the pan when it’s ready. Flip it over if you want both sides really crisp. Or top it with some sauce and cheese like pizza and pass it under the broiler. Let cool for a sec, then cut as you like and serve from the pan or a board.”

I don't like to mess with a recipe on my first attempt so that I can understand it's flavor. When making Mark Bitterman's Socca, Skillet Flatbread I stuck closely to it's bare minimum, only adding two cloves of garlic and topping the finished product with a bit of grated Parmesan. This recipe is such a great tasting blank canvas for goodies. I think my next attempt will involve doubling the garlic and also adding in some crushed dried rosemary and diced red onion...I can't wait!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

omg i love ur recipes!!. =]