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Socca with Beet Greens

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My friend just came back from two weeks in Italy. She’s vegan, gluten-free, and knows what’s what about all things fabulous. Highlights from the trip? The food was amazing. I stuffed my face with socca.  After you try this recipe, you will too. 

Socca, also called farinata or cecina, is a pancake made with chickpea flour and olive oil and seasoned with black pepper.  You usually find it along the French and Italian Riviera, served as a snack and cut into wedges. It’s delicious and unbelievably easy to make. Most health food stores and ethnic markets carry chickpea flour, in case your supermarket doesn’t. I had some beets in my refrigerator and added the green tops to the mix, but the traditional way is to do without. I also like mine sprinkled with grated cheese. Skipping it keeps it vegan. 

Make it. Pretend you’re on vacation. Stuff your face. 

Ingredients (makes one serving):

  • 1/2 cup of chopped beet greens (from one bunch of beets)
  • 1/2 cup of chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon or more of ground black pepper
  • one 9-inch glass pie dish
  • 1 teaspoon of grated pecorino or parmesan (optional) 

Make the Beet Greens and Cecina:

Mix the chickpea flour, water, salt, black pepper and one tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl until well combined. Let sit at room temperature for at least half an hour.

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Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the pie dish with two tablespoons of olive oil, and place it in the oven. 

Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a pan and sauté the beet greens.

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When they are wilted, about five to ten minutes, remove from heat and let cool. Wrap in a paper towel and squeeze out the excess water. 

Add the beet greens to the chickpea liquid and stir to combine.

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Remove the pie dish from the oven. Pour the mixture into the pie dish. It will start to sizzle and cook as soon as it hits the glass.

Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes, and then broil for another three to five minutes, until the top has browned. Remove from the heat, let cool for a minute, and cut into wedges to serve. Sprinkle with grated pecorino or parmesan if you like.

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