Thursday, July 23, 2015

Socca Croustillant with Tomatoes, Yogurt & Walnut Basil Pesto

The first flush of tomatoes was harvested from our potager.  The potting room's window sill is covered with them, as is the kitchen table: a delicious deluge of shiny, mostly red, some pink, large, medium, small, and all juicy.

Garnished with a puddle of tomato coulis

As there was pesto recently made from our potager's basil and some thick, creamy yogurt left over from making Spiced Blackberry Lassi Sherbet, a crisp stack of mini chickpea pancakes layered with sliced, garden-fresh tomatoes, pesto, and yogurt just was asking to be created.

Olive oil gives a nice sheen to the pancakes

Tomatoes! We bow down before you.

Joie de la Table, an early-season variety

makes 12 pancakes about 7.6 cm/3 inches in diameter, enough for 4 servings
  • Chickpea flour, 4 T
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp
  • Salt, 1/2 tsp
  • Water, 6 T
  • Tomatoes, the best you can get, 2 medium & 1 small
  • Yogurt, Greek-style (that is, drained overnight), about 4 T
  • Walnut Basil Pesto, about 4 T (recipe here)
  • Olive oil for shallow frying
  • Garnishes: fresh basil, fleur de sel
Stir the cornstarch in the water until blended. Whisk in the salt and chickpea flour until the thin batter is smooth. Heat over medium-high flame a heavy bottomed skillet, preferably cast-iron, for several minutes until a few drops of water dance on the hot surface. Put about a tablespoon of oil in the pan. Using a measuring tablespoon, pour in the batter carefully. Repeat till the pan is full; mine took three. Cook for a couple of minutes until the edges are browned and the center is mostly dry. Using a narrow, metal spatula, loosen the edges and then flip over. Add a little more oil. Cook for a couple of minutes. If the pancakes are not crisping, more oil can be swirled around.

The lacy edges will have the most crunch

Blot each well with paper towelling and let cool on a wire rack (I use one from the oven). Wash and core the tomatoes. Coarsely chop the small one and process in a mixer till mostly liquid. Push through a sieve placed over a bowl. Voilà! You have yourself some coulis. Cut the remaining tomatoes into even slices about .64 cm/1/4 inch thick. For each stack, start with a pancake, then place a tomato slice. Spread first a teaspoon of yogurt and then one of pesto. Place another pancake and repeat, ending with a pancake. Do three more stacks. Top with some yogurt and make a depression. Fill with coulis and garnish with a basil leaf. Serve with any extra coulis.

Any burnt or very irregular bits can be broken off

Both croustillant (crunchy) and moelleux (soft), these little piles of goodness are scrumptious.

In the potager, so many tomatoes are ripening which is wonderful.

Altaisky, a pink and very 'meaty' variety

But it is satisfying to see just as many green ones as they will grace our table at summer's end.

Tomato 'Liguria', a fabulous, ribbed, pink, pear-shaped variety, good both for sauces and slicing

Volunteer seedlings are encouraged in our garden. A rose of Sharon is growing happily in hardly any soil, at the base of the pergola's ivy-covered pillar!

À la prochaine!

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