Jessica Koslow, award-winning chef of L.A.’s Sqirl, has a cookbook out that will edge you ever closer to culinary nirvana. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or dedicated omnivore, you’ll find vibrant, creative recipes incorporating healthful, whole foods for any craving. Pick up a copy and a can of chickpeas and cook like a Californian. We think the Sqirl socca recipe is one of the best around.
Since Sqirl is open for breakfast and lunch, the majority of our customers order one dish, not an appetizer followed by an entrée and a cheese course. So we are always trying to come up with ways to create a single dish that really satisfies. This socca pancake stemmed from that quest. It’s traditional in that it is a flat pancake made of gluten-free chickpea flour, but it’s also not so traditional in that it is filled with lots of vegetables and topped with greens and creamy labneh.
NOTE ON THE WINTER SQUASH
You can use any kind of winter squash that you like. We usually go for kabocha. If you’re having a hard time grating the squash on one of those handheld box graters, try cutting the squash into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces and then shredding them in a food processor.
WANT TO MAKE IT HEARTIER?
Add a fried egg on top.
SPICE UP THE LABNEH
Have fun with the seasoning. Try mixing in ras el hanout or za’atar.
- 1 pound zucchini, carrot or winter squash, peeled and coarsely grated
- fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 4 large eggs
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2/3 cup chickpea flour
- freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch ground cinnamon (optional; use with winter squash)
- Pinch ground ginger (optional; use with winter squash)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed
- 1/2 cup labneh
- 3 cups spicy greens (such as watercress, arugula or baby mustard greens)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
For the socca
Toss the grated vegetable with a few big pinches of salt, then put it in a fine-mesh sieve and let drain, squeezing every so often so that the vegetable releases its water, for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Toast the spices, shaking the pan often, until fragrant but not burned, about 3 minutes. Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, grind the toasted spices to a powder.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk to break them up. Add the drained vegetables, along with the garlic, oregano, mint, cilantro, chickpea flour, and toasted spices. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper, and mix well. If you are using winter squash, stir in a pinch each of ground cinnamon and ground ginger. (The pancake batter can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored, covered, in the fridge.)
Heat a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Add the butter, then spoon in two overflowing ½ cupfuls (120 ml) of the pancake batter, pressing each to ½ inch (12 mm) thick. Cook, rotating the skillet occasionally for even browning, until the pancakes are nicely browned, about 3 minutes. Flip, then cook the second side for another few minutes. Transfer the pancakes to a plate. Repeat to make two more pancakes, adding more butter to the skillet, if needed.
Season the labneh with salt.
Just before serving, toss the greens with the lemon juice, oil, and some salt and pepper. Top each socca pancake with a huge dollop of labneh and a tangle of greens.