I have spent most of the last few months trying to combat this dreadful winter with citrus. Our kitchen is filled with bowls of mandarins, grapefruits, blood oranges, tangerines, and oro blancos. But, as the winter has continued in an unrelenting stream of gray days, I’ve moved my fruit fixations on to even warmer climates and started stocking mangos. It’s possible I should buy carbon offsets for my fruit bowl.
Last night, as I mulled over the fact that we were going North–NORTH– for “spring” break next week and as I stared at a weather report that suggested yesterday’s 50 degrees was going to disappear into rain and snow, I decided enough was enough. I was going to turn one bowl of citrus into something delicious. Having just seen Molly’s recipe for lime curd, my thoughts drifted to a tangerine-lime curd smeared on cookies and toast, layered with whipped cream and cookie crumbs for a trifle, or, to be honest, eaten furtively from a spoon every time I walked into the kitchen.
It totally failed. I juiced my tangerines and limes; I whisked them with sugar and butter. But, I whisked a few minutes too long, turned the heat just slightly too high, and all of a sudden it curdled. Bits of egg floated in melted sugar and butter along with some no-longer bright lime zest. It was gross. To add insult to injury, when I decided I had to taste it before dumping it down the drain, I burnt my tongue. Also there are splatters of tangerine juice and melted sugar all over our kitchen. It’s very sticky. (Cue “this would never happen to Robin” moans now.)
I decided it was all punishment for my globetrotting fruit bowl. “This is New England, Suzanne,” I said. “You should be eating root vegetables.” And so, as penance, I’m here to share with you a recipe for carrots. Luckily, my penance is your gain because this recipe is pretty tasty. And, let’s face it, at this point in the winter, you probably have some carrots sitting in the bottom of your refrigerator. Also, if you’re lucky enough to have citrus, you should not try to mess with it by adding butter and sugar.
This is a recipe for chickpea flat bread–socca–which is really more of a big flat pancake made of chickpea four, water, and a little oil. I discovered socca shortly after going gluten-free and for a while ate it at least once a week because it is so simple to make. Eventually, it fell out of rotation, but I made it recently and remembered how simple it is. Upon rediscovery, I decided that carrots would be an excellent addition to socca. My first attempt, however, ended in another kitchen disaster. I had roasted the carrots and then poured the socca batter around them. When I shook the socca loose from its pan, I ended up with mangled socca and a pile of roast carrots. They were quite good together but not exactly what I was aiming for.
This time, I grated the carrots, sautéed them in a little butter and garlic and then stirred them into the batter before it went into the pan. The result was a cross between a socca and a carrot latke. It was crisp, sweet, and savory. At this point, I would definitely rather be sipping juice straight from a coconut but this is pretty good too. (And, as you can see, I ate it with a side of citrus anyway.)
Carrot Socca (adapted from this Mark Bittman recipe)
– 3 cloves of garlic
– 1/2 tablespoon butter
– 1 cup chickpea flour
– 1 cup warm water
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– Salt and pepper to taste
* Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
* Put 12-inch cast iron skillet in the oven.
* Measure chickpea flour into a large bowl. Whisk in 1 cup warm water until there are no lumps. Stir in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ground pepper to taste. Set aside.
* Heat butter in a medium sized-skillet. Add 3 crushed garlic cloves and shredded carrots. Reduce heat to medium-low and sautee carrots just until they begin to brown. Salt to taste. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
* Stir carrots into chickpea batter.
* Remove heated pan from oven. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and swirl to coat. Pour in batter.
* Bake 12-15 minutes until edges are just brown and pancake is firm. Remove from oven and eat warm.