And really a lot more to talk about, but this post is not about that. It is about a dinner that, by all accounts, should have been an interesting experiment and nothing more but was, in reality, simply delicious. I have been cooking a lot from Plenty (another reason for the lack of recipes) and have enjoyed everything from it so far. It had a recipe for socca - chickpea flour pancakes - topped with onion and tomato. I took the recipe as an inspiration, ran it through parts of Japan and China, and came up with this.
Socca, with green onion inside, topped with mâche (lamb's lettuce), and a mushroom/tomato saute. The China part is, somewhat obviously, the green onions in the socca - like scallion cakes but much lighter. The Japan part isn't so obvious from a photo, but from a bite it would be obvious. The saute was seasoned with a combination of sake, (fake) wasabi, and brown sugar. Sesame oil could, probably, have helped a great deal. Delicious, though, most definitely delicious. If I see Italian/Japanese fusion places in the future, I won't be quite so stunned.
Socca (By Way of Asia)
This recipe is an approximation, and not a final product. Consider it a place to get started; much could be improved in the dish. For instance, a sauce, aioli, or dip could be of great benefit. As could some spices.
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp minced green onion
1 "box" mushrooms (8oz, I think)
2/3 "box" cherry tomatoes (???oz)
1/4 cup-ish sake
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp (give or take) wasabi
a bit of mâche
Mix the socca batter - combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Clean the mushrooms and dry them, then slice them. Sweat the mushrooms with a dash of salt in a frying pan over medium heat for about five minutes. While the mushrooms are sweating, begin cutting cherry tomatoes in half. When the mushrooms have reduced by a bit and are tasty, prepare to multi-task.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and prepare a parchment-lined baking sheet. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat with a bottom the size you would like your socca (think slightly larger than tacos). While doing the rest of the saute prep, you should be cooking socca: put a dash of oil in the pan and add ~1/4 cup of batter, spreading it evenly over the bottom. After 1-2 minutes, it should have bubbles and the top should have begun to set a little. Flip and cook for another minute.
In the downtime of cooking socca, add the sake, brown sugar, and wasabi to the mushrooms and reduce for several minutes. Then add the tomatoes, cook for five minutes, and add salt and pepper to taste. All the while, you should be making socca - I got 6 pancakes from the recipe, which is a good amount to aim for.
The saute should finish before the socca, which is good as you want it to cool slightly. When all the socca are done, put a bed of mâche on each one, then top with saute. Place in the oven for 5-10 minutes to warm. Serve and eat immediately, as they will cool quickly. Warmed plates may help. Eating with your hands may be a good idea, as E thought the dish was close enough to a taco to be eaten like one.
Hell, maybe add some guacamole.