Shaved Asparagus and Kale Socca with Leek Pesto

Socca, also known as farinata, is chickpea flour flatbread that is popular in the Ligurian Sea coast. It’s super easy to put together, inexpensive, and it provides a protein-rich, gluten-free, and vegan base that lends itself well to a variety of toppings. Any pesto and vegetable combination can be used, so feel free to experiment!

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

For the socca

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water, room temperature

For the leek pesto

  • 1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and chopped
  • 1 cup cashews, toasted
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan (optional)
  • 3 tsp mellow white miso paste (I used chickpea miso)
  • zest and juice from 2 lemons (about ¼ cup lemon juice)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the shaved asparagus and kale

  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 thick stalks of asparagus, shaved
  • 1 cup loosely packed kale
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped mint
  • fresh grated Parmesan or Manchego cheese (optional)

Instructions

For the leek pesto, in a food processor or high-speed blender, add the leek, cashews, garlic, Parmesan (if using), miso, and lemon juice. Blend until it reaches a uniform consistency, then add in the olive oil and blend until smooth. Taste and add salt, pepper, or more lemon juice, to taste.

For the socca, preheat the oven to 450 and place your cast iron skillet in the oven. In a medium bowl, combine the chickpea flour, salt, and pepper. Add in 1 cup of room temperature water and 2 tbsp of olive oil and whisk to combine. Let sit for 15 minutes, or until it resembles a thinner pancake batter. Add water if too thick.

Remove the pan from the oven, add 1 tbsp olive oil and swirl to coat. Pour in the batter and let bake for about 15 minutes, or until the center is firm and edges begin to turn golden. Set aside and let cool while you prepare the shaved asparagus and kale salad.

For the shaved asparagus and kale, in a mason jar, combine the red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, Dijon, salt, and pepper. Shake vigorously to emulsify. Place the kale in a medium bowl and pour half of the dressing on top. Using your hands, massage the kale for about 1 minute to break it down. Add in the shaved asparagus, mint, and remaining dressing. Toss gently to combine.

To assemble, spread about ½ cup (or more) on top of the socca in an even layer. Then top with the shaved asparagus, kale salad, and fresh grated Parmesan or Manchego cheese, if desired. Slice and serve immediately! 

Recipe and photo by Natalie Bickford