The Dish | Preserved Lemon and Walnut Chickpea Flatbread

This popular snack in the Mediterranean goes by many names – panisse in Marseille, socca in Nice, farinata in Genoa, panelle in Palermo. Whatever you call it, this simple, chic flatbread makes for a perfect nibble, especially washed down with a chilled rosé, as we get the green light to gather again for some lazy summer days!

4-6 appetizer servings

  • 2 cups chickpea flour
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbes de provence
  • 1 whole preserved lemon
  • 2 ounces chopped raw walnuts
  • Finishing salt
  • Scrape the pulp from the preserved lemon peel (reserving for another use), and slice the peel into thin slivers.
  • Place the chickpea flour, water, ¼ cup of olive oil, the salt, the herbes de provence, and the preserved lemon slivers into a large bowl; whisk vigorously until smooth and well combined. Set aside to rest, stirring every so often, for at least one hour and up to several hours, so that the dense chickpea flour has time to hydrate. Cover the bowl with a tea towel if it will be sitting out for several hours. The batter should be thick but pourable, the consistency of heavy cream.
  • About 20 minutes before you are ready to make the pancakes, preheat the oven to 450F, along with two 9-10” cast iron skillets (or other broiler-proof shallow pan).
  • When you are ready to make the pancakes, fold the walnuts into the batter. Remove the preheated skillets from the oven, swirl 1 tablespoon of olive oil inside of each pan, and pour half of the chickpea mixture into each. The batter will sizzle as it goes in. Shake each pan (holding with thick oven mitts, as it will be HOT!), to distribute the filling evenly. Place the pans back into the oven, and cook for 10-15 minutes until the edges are set and the pancake is just firm. The goal is a crispy exterior and chewy interior.
  • Remove the skillet from the oven, and set the oven to broil. Brush the top of each pancake with another tablespoon of oil each, then broil for a few minutes, watching carefully, until the top is sizzling and blistered in spots.
  • Remove the pancake to a cutting board or serving platter, running a rubber spatula around the edges to prevent sticking. Sprinkle with finishing salt, slice into wedges, and serve warm.

Reprinted with permission from Stone Pier Press

This recipe will appear in my forthcoming What’s for Dinner: Plant-rich feasts for any occasion, available for pre-order now. The book is the first volume in an eco-cooking series, meeting the dinner challenge with a set of full-bodied, vegan and vegetarian entrées, plus plant-based starters, sides and desserts, meant to anchor celebratory meals.

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