I've Invented the World's Best Gluten-Free Pancake
If you have ever had the pleasure of traveling in the Provence region of France, you might have spotted socca stalls in their markets. Socca is a chickpea-flour pancake that is often cooked over coals or a grill in huge pans like paella pans, and pieces are sliced off for customers and served hot in pieces of paper. It's a terrific snack that you can walk and eat.
One of the great things about chickpeas is that they are naturally gluten-free. They are also mild in flavor, which means they can actually lean sweet or savory as needed. So, when I needed a gluten-free pancake in my arsenal, I turned to socca for my inspiration.
How to make gluten-free socca pancakes
These simple pancakes are super versatile, and the recipe is ratio-based, making it easy to remember. You just need chickpea flour, water, salt, and oil.
Note: Chickpea flour is generally available in supermarkets (Bob's Red Mill, found widely, makes a version).
The ratio is 1:1 by volume chickpea flour to water. You want to use lukewarm water, not cold or hot, which will help the batter come together easily. Flavor the water with kosher salt depending on how you intend to use the pancakes. If you are planning on serving them with syrup or powdered sugar, use about ¾ teaspoon kosher salt for every cup of water. If you are using them in a savory application, double that to a 1½ teaspoons for every cup of water.
To make the batter, dissolve the salt into your lukewarm water. If you want to add any seasoning or spices to your pancakes, like cinnamon for sweet pancakes or cumin for savory, add the ground spice to the chickpea flour and whisk it in. Then combined the seasoned water with the flour, whisking until no lumps are left and you have a cohesive batter.
If you want to serve the way they do in Provence, heat your oven to 450° with a 12-inch cast iron skillet in it, and about two tablespoons of oil in the pan. Pour the batter into the heated skillet and bake 10-15 minutes until lightly browned in spots. Serve in wedges with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon if you like.
If you need a morning gluten-free pancake, make them about 3 inches in diameter, and swipe with butter as they come out of the pan, then give them either a sprinkle of powdered sugar, a smear of jam, or a dousing in syrup. Lean into some of the other flavors that often are seen with chickpeas and try drizzling with pomegranate molasses or date syrup.
If you want to serve as appetizers, heat oil in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove and make small pancakes with the batter, flipping after a minute, and cooking until browned and crispy on both sides. Serve as you would a blini or a potato pancake, topping with items like salmon or caviar and sour cream, or use as a dipper for any number of dips.