Sunday, May 07, 2006


Paper Chef 17 - Miso Socca with Vegetables Provencal

Was it only a few years ago that fusion cuisine was the hottest thing around? Sure, sure, now its all about Spain and either scientific foods or the truly home-spun, but six or eight years ago, the buzz on the street was "fusion, baby!" And the combo platter that started the whirlwind was a sublime Japanese-French mishmash that resulted in such divinity as miso glazed cod, sesame tuile with crème fraiche and tobiko, and well, a zillion other culinary delights.

That heritage (can we call it heritage at this point? Is it too soon? I do wonder.) made creating a dish for my favorite online event, Paper Chef, a snap in my opinion. The ingredients du jour (du mois?) lavender, miso, chickpeas and a local ingredient, well, that to me just screamed Provence, with a slight nod to, well, obviously, Japan…

The dish was easy to decide on, but heaven help me if it didn’t become a lavender-induced challenge. (I’m getting to be a broken record on this, but please do bare with me.) I recently moved to a new neighborhood, that is distinctly lacking in high-end grocery options, and it seems Herbs De Provence (a French spice mix featuring lavender) – in this hood anyway – is quite the rarity, and my option was to purchase it from my new boyfriend at Monsieur Marcel for an outrageous sum, make my own, or, as I ended up doing, using this insane looking bright purple (see the photo over there? That purple stuff is salt!) salt and some marinated olives. Then for my local ingredient, I fully intended on plucking a nice fat branch of that ubiquitous and fragrant hedge, rosemary, but alas, this hood seems to be “edible-hedge” free, so again, I opted for some lavender growing in my yard. Gee, I hope it was pesticide free…

The resulting dish was quite homey, would make a great party entrée if you have vegetarians (or you could easily add some roast chicken) it was a breeze to whip up and visually stunning. I do wish I had been able to capture a better photo, but my batteries were dying and my guests were hungry...I also must confess, I'm not entirely sure the miso added much, except salt, which the chick-pea flour desperately needs, so if you omit that, just add more of the blessed little crystals, ok? Now try this, and enjoy!

For the Socca

1 cup chick-pea (garbanzo bean) flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup cold water
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1 teaspoon miso

For the vegetables

1 cup assorted mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (I used crimini and golden chanterelle)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
6-8 herbs-de-Provence marinated olives, pitted and sliced (available in bulk at Whole Foods)
6-8 starburst or pattypan squash, cleaned and sliced
olive oil
(Lavender) Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh lavender flowers for garnish

In a large, hot pan, sear the mushrooms in a bit of oil. When browned, add the rest of the vegetables and cook until just crisp-tender (it's important your squash are sliced thin, or they wont catch up here.) When done, set aside and make the crepes.

In a small bowl, combine the water and salt, and stir to dissolve. In a larger bowl, combine the flour, oil and miso and stir. Add the water and whisk to make a thin mixture, then let rest for 5 minutes (it may thicken). Add pepper to taste and prepare your pan.

In an 8 inch non-stick skillet (or crepe pan. I tried to use mine and it kept sticking. Crepes, pancakes, whatever, I just have never mastered them in anything but a non-stick pan. Sigh.) heat some oil and pour in a 3 oz. ladleful of the mixture. Cook as any pancake, flip and remove from the pan. Set aside and continue with the rest of the batter. This should yield about 6 finished socca.

Top the socca with the veg mix, and if using, add some crushed lavender salt.

Serves six.


Herbes de Provence combines sweet French herbs and flowery lavender with Italian herbs and fennel, demonstrating the historical influence of the Romans. –

Socca is a chick-pea flour crepe that hails from the seaside areas Nice and Marseilles in Southern France.

This week in Florida, the state Legislature passed a bill naming the Key lime pie as the official state pie During a House debate Thursday on the state pie, Rep. Dwight Stansel, a Democrat, proposed giving the honor to the sweet potato pie, calling the Key lime alternative "nasty.'' ''I don't understand how anybody in this body can designate a state pie from a fruit that is not even grown in Florida anymore,'' he said. "That fruit is grown in Mexico.'' Sweet potatoes, Stansel argued, are grown in Florida and are "coming back to the kitchen table.'' But his pitch didn't work. The House voted 106-14 in support of the Key lime pie. The bill already cleared the Senate and will now be sent to the Gov. for his signature.

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Wonderfully clever!
this does look truely delicious Rachael, and I am glad to see you backs blogging again.
I do love socca and a miso flavour sounds liek a great idea - yum!
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