I’ve since dubbed this year, “the year of sickness.” Not original, I know. But, sadly, it’s the truth. During this time, I pumped my body full of concentrated garlic and botanicals, ate 4 batches of this healing broth in 3 days (really, Laura), listened to audio lectures when I could focus, and caught up on Grey’s Anatomy when I couldn’t. It was pretty sucky. Not the Greys Anatomy part–that felt like a legit excuse to watch hours of TV.
Prior to being graced with this killer cold, I spent several weeks studying for, and writing, a challenging set of midterms. So when I got sick (again–duly noted), it was hard not to feel sorry for myself. Life has felt a little blah lately.
That’s mostly why these declicious socca pizzas appeared. There’s nothing blah about them. I remembered that I’d made, and loved, them a few weeks ago. So I decided, straight up, that since I can’t take a full vacation from my life right now, I’m going to eat pizza instead. This, I’m sure, perfectly qualifies as eating my feelings. (Just sayin’!) But the days are still cold and grey in my part of the world and I’m in need of some sunshine and joy (in whatever pizza-shaped form it takes). More importantly, I am confident that because it’s healthy, I can rest easily knowing that the antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats I’m getting from it are doing my body, mind, and soul some good. Besides, if we can’t have pizza, what are we even living for, people?
This obviously isn’t your traditional pizza, but you may already know that I love a non-traditional pizza crust. The base is made very simply with chickpea flour (besan), water, & olive oil and it cooks up like a thick crepe in about 2-3 minutes on your stovetop. There are many ways to make socca as you will see if you google it, but I like this simple method right now. I’ve modified Mark Bittman’s recipe, but followed his suggestion of the addition of pepper. I really think it makes it pop. I topped these beauties with the basil-arugula pesto, my favourite roasted tomatoes, oil cured olives, more fresh arugula, and goat cheese.
- 1 lg bunch of basil (about 2 cups)
- 2 cups arugula
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ -cup + 2 tbsp, olive oil, divided
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste for the pesto
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Oil for the pan. I like to use a neutral oil like grapeseed because of its higher smoke point.
- Sift chickpea flour into a bowl with salt and pepper. Slowly add 1 cup lukewarm water, whisking to eliminate lumps. Stir in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover and let sit for about 30 minutes. The batter should be the consistency of heavy cream.
- While it sets, make the pesto. Combine basil, arugula, garlic, & pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, Slowly stream the oil in while the machine is running, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.
- Heat a cast iron pan on medium heat. When it's hot, add oil and swirl to cover the pan evenly. Pour in about ¼ of the batter, give or take. You don't have to be very specific here. It's ok if the pizza bases are slightly different sizes.
- Once the "crepe" starts to set and bubbles appear in batter, gently flip it. This will only take about 1-2 minutes. You'll know it's ready to flip when the centre is just barely starting to set. Cook on the other side for another minute.
- Meanwhile put your oven on broil and set the rack to the centre of the oven.
- When your socca is done spread with pesto and top with your favourite toppings. As mentioned, here we topped it with my favourite roasted tomatoes (see the link above), oil cured olives, more fresh arugula, and goat cheese. Place in the oven for about 2-5 minutes, or enough to gently wilt the greens and warm the rest of your toppings. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn't burn.