Versatile chickpea flour (which happens to be gluten free) may not be as beloved as standard all-purpose—but we think that may be about to change. It's used to make socca, a Mediterranean chickpea pancake, which we top with a fresh chickpea pesto and goat cheese to turn it into a socca pizza. While it isn't a pizza in the technical sense, it still satisfies cravings for something doughy and cheesy.
Spring also happens to be fresh chickpea season. If you've never seen a fresh chickpea, it's actually green and has to be shucked from an equally green pod. They are indeed a labor of love: After they're shucked, they're then blanched and finally peeled of their skin. If you cannot find fresh chickpeas, we recommend substituting peas in the pesto.
To learn more, read "Socca It to Me."
Socca “Pizza" with Fresh Chickpea Pesto
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: One 10-inch socca pizza
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus resting time
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes, plus resting time
For the Socca:
1 cup chickpea flour
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely grated
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Chickpea Pesto:
8 ounces (4 cups) whole fresh green chickpeas, shucked (1 cup)
Kosher salt, to taste
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh chervil leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon pistachios
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (¼ cup)
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
Chopped pistachios, for garnish
Mâche rosettes, for garnish
Chervil leaves, for garnish
Flaky sea salt, for garnish
1. Make the socca: In a large bowl, whisk all the ingredients together until a smooth batter forms. Cover in plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, make the chickpea pesto: Bring a small pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Season the water with salt. Add the fresh chickpeas and cook until tender, 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chickpeas to the ice bath. Once cool, drain the chickpeas and remove their thin shells around the green centers. Transfer the chickpeas to a small food processor with the remaining pesto ingredients. Pulse until a smooth paste comes together, then season with salt.
3. Assemble the socca pizza: Preheat the broiler with the rack 6 inches away from the heat source. In a 10-inch ovenproof, nonstick pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Pour the batter into the pan, swirling to cover the entire surface, then transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until the socca sets, 5 to 6 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the oven. Spread the chickpea pesto over the socca and dot with the goat cheese. Return to the oven and broil until the cheese is slightly golden, 4 minutes more. Transfer the socca to a board and top with the sliced serrano, chopped pistachios, mâche and chervil. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with flaky sea salt, then serve.