squash blossom + pesto socca "pizza"
The farms stands has been open for several weeks now, where I spend my summer on the East End of Long Island. They've certainly been open since my last blog post here ........ it's been so nice and refreshing to spend the past several weeks cruising the farms with little on my list, getting inspired by what I find. I literally cried the first day the farmstand in my town opened. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous, and they were happy tears, obviously .... I must have been feeling a little overly emotional that day, but still, the farms in our area make me that happy.
I decided recently to take a little more time to myself, away from writing recipes, and writing in general. After a big project like writing a book, I felt like I needed some more me-time to reboot, refresh and to get reacquainted with myself in my kitchen, without an agenda, or without a huge to-do list of recipes. Going to the farm stand without a list of groceries has been liberating, and energizing. I desperately needed that jolt of energy, and to cook for fun a little again before diving into our next big project that gets going in a few weeks (MORE ON THAT HERE). Someone recently said to me, you know that you love what you do if you miss it while you take a break. So happily, I can say, I do love what I do .... I did miss writing and coming up with new recipes, and I am so excited to be doing it all over again.
Often times when am I developing recipes, I will have a recipe in mind (or mostly written) before I even start cooking. One of the biggest things that I have discovered (or remembered!) during this time to myself is that if I let some of that control go a little bit, some magic can happen in the kitchen. This recipe is a perfect example of that happening. I went to the farm with no list, just wanting to pick up a few veggie gems to cook with for the week. I picked up some fresh chives, half-a-dozen or so squash blossoms, a jar of pesto, some goat's cheese, and a few other things. I knew for lunch I wanted to make something with those squash blossoms, and I also had some sort of pizza/flat bread thing on my mind. I had chickpea flour in my pantry, because I always have chickpea flour in my pantry ... so I started cooking with hopes that I could turn my regular socca/chickpea crepe recipe into something more pizza-like. And here it is. I have made this a few times since that day, because it was that good, and I knew it was the first recipe I needed to share to get me back into this space. Of course you can mix and match with whatever topping you like, including a dairy-free cheese, or other veggies combinations, but I do hope you try this chickpea/socca pizza base. It is one of the best gluten-free bases I have found for when the mood strikes for something pizza-like.
squash blossom + pesto socca "pizza"
about 2 mini pizzas (4 slices each)
for the socca pizza crust:
1 cup of chickpea flour
1 cup of water
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
a couple pinches of sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
a handful of chopped chives (optional)
a couple tablespoons of ghee
for the toppings:
6-8 squash blossoms, stems and pistol removed
a few tablespoons of pesto (either homemade or store-bought)
several dollops of goat's cheese, or your favorite non-dairy cheese
In a large bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt, pepper, and chives (if you're using), until fully incorporated and a batter has formed. Set aside to rest for about 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the broiler and have your toppings ready to go, next to the stove top.
Heat a large cast iron with the ghee over medium-high heat. Ladle about 1 cup of the batter into the pan and cook until bubbles start rising to the surface and the edges look cooked. Then, place a couple of spoonfuls of the pesto onto the batter, a couple of dollops of the cheese, and finish with 3-4 of the squash blossoms and then place the cast iron into the oven under the broiler. Cook for 5-10 minutes (checking often since broiler cooking times vary greatly). You know the pizza is done when the cheese is melty and the edges are browned.
Remove, and carefully transfer the pizza to a cutting board, cut into slices, and serve.
If you want to make additional pizzas (the batter will make 1-2 more), then start all over again with heating the ghee and ladling the batter into the cast iron. Alternatively, you can save the batter for another day/use. It will keep for about a week in an air-tight container in the fridge.