I made this Spicy Lemon Date Spread from the blog Joy the Baker
for my family over the holiday. They ate it on toasted pita bread and I just ate spoonfuls of the spread on its own because I can’t have pita bread. Although this dip is totally delicious on a spoon, I could tell that it would be even better on pita bread or naan or on the Sweet Fennel Scented Sweet Flakey Bread
(Meetha Paratha) or the Green Paratha
that my sister posted….but I can’t eat any of those breads. That’s what I get for reading baking blogs I guess…but the pictures are sooooo pretty and I like Joy’s style! To be fair, she suggests that this could be a thick sauce for chicken or pork, and it could, I just got really stuck on wanting to eat it on some sort of flat bready thing…you know?
So, I was trying to think of what sort of gluten-free bread item would be a good for this Spread and then I decided to try this recipe for Socca (or Farinata). At my husband’s birthday party last month, our friends Amy and Ana gave me a recipe for this baked chickpea pancake from Provence and Liguria. I make fried chickpea pancakes with an Indian flavour profile
, but I had no idea that chickpea flour had a place in any part of French or Italian Cuisine. They are traditionally baked in coal or wood burning stoves on a copper plate and served wrapped in paper as a snack.
So on Friday night I made myself a Baked Chickpea Pancake with Spicy Lemon Date Spread, Moroccan Carrot Salad
and Cauliflower Fried with Indian Spices. its all over the map, I know, but it all tasted great together!
The date spread is sweet, spicy, tart and earthy. The chickpea pancake has lovely nutty flavour and was so easy to make. I used to make this great olive spread that would go well with a rosemary Socca….hmmm more on that later. It was so easy that I made another baked chickpea pancake and ate it with the last of the date spread for breakfast this morning!
SPICY LEMON DATE SPREAD
from Joy The Baker who adapted it just slightly from Party Like A Culinista
makes about 2 cups of spread
- 2 1/2 cups pitted, chopped dates
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- scant 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- warm naan or pita bread or baked chickpea pancake (recipe below)
- extra virgin olive oil for serving
- Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped dates, lemon juice, water, zest, ginger, and spices to the pan. Simmer until almost all of the water is evaporated. The dates will begin to break down, and the simmering mixture will resemble a very thick stew, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Place mixture in the bowl of a food processor fit with a blade attachment. Puree mixture until smooth. That’s it! Serve it up warm or at room temperature.
SOCCA OR FARINATA (BAKED CHICKPEA PANCAKE)
- 1 1/4 C lukewarm water
- 1 C chickpea flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (optional)
1. Pour the warm water into a mixing bowl and sift the chickpea flour into it to eliminate lumps. Whisk the chickpea flour, water, salt , pepper and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil together, cover the bowl with a towel, and let the batter sit for at least a few minutes.
2. Heat the oven to 450F. Put another 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a well seasoned or nonstick 12 inch pizza pan or skillet. Stir the sliced onion and rosemary into the batter- it will still be a little thicker that was originally then pour the batter into the greased pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the pancake is firm and the edges set. Heat the broiler and brush the top of the socca with a little more oil if you like.
3. Set the socca a few inches away from the broiler for a minute or two, just long enough to brown it spottily, but not long enough that it would color evenly or burn (I left my first one in a bit too long), Cut it into wedges and serve hot or at least warm.