This quick, colorful tart from Clotilde Dusoulier's new book, The French Market Cookbook, is yet another brand new taste experience. Much like the seaweed tartare I made earlier this week, I would never have thought to layer raw zucchini on a chickpea flour tart shell with apricot compote and serve it as an appetizer. But now that I've had it, I'll be trying twists on this dish for many seasons to come. I could picture long carrot peels atop a thin smear of goat cheese and pesto, or paper-thin butternut squash layered on pear butter. Most anything would work on this gluten-free socca tart shell. The chickpea flour is rich and nutty, the batter just a bit smoky from the cumin seeds, and the shell tender enough to meld with the compote and vegetables.
Why I picked this recipe: I was intrigued by the idea of combining raw zucchini, apricots, and chickpea flour.
What worked: The socca tart shell was remarkably simple to put together (easily the quickest and least messy tart crust I've ever made) and its nutty flavor balanced the grassiness of the squash and sweet-tart apricots.
What didn't: Not a problem in sight.
Suggested tweaks: If you have a lower broiler drawer, you'll need to modify the cooking directions just a bit. Let the crust cook in the oven for a couple of extra minutes to completely cook through before sending it under the broiler for a minute or so. It will burn if you leave it in the broiler for the full 10 minutes.
Reprinted with permission from The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde Dusoulier. Copyright 2013. Published by Clarkson Potter Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
Zucchini and Apricot Socca Tart from 'The French Market Cookbook'
- Tart Base
- 1 1/3 cups (140 g) chickpea flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Olive oil for cooking
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Zucchini Tart
- 9 ounces (250 g) apricots or yellow peaches, pitted and diced
- 1 small (120 g) zucchini
- Flaky sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
To prepare the tart base: In a medium bowl, combine the chickpea flour, salt, cumin, and 3 tablespoons oil. Pour in 3/4 cup (180 ml) cold water in a slow stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. The mixture will be thinner than pancake batter. Cover and let rest for 2 hours at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.
Place a well-seasoned 10-inch (25 cm) cast-iron pan in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Whisk the batter again. Remove the pan from the oven cautiously (it will be hot) and pour in a good glug of oil, swirling the pan around to coat. Pour the batter into the pan and swirl to cover the entire surface. Return to the oven and bake until set, 25 to 30 minutes. Switch the oven to the broiler setting and leave the pan in, keeping a close eye on it, until golden brown and crisp at the top, about 10 minutes. Turn the socca out onto a plate, then flip it back onto a serving dish.
To make the apricot compote: Cook the diced apricots in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, uncovered, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat, bring to a simmer, and cook for another 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Set aside to cool completely. You should have about 6 tablespoons of the apricot compote.
To finish the tart: Using a mandoline slicer or very sharp knife, cut the zucchini into paper-thin slices.
Place the socca browned side up on a serving dish and spread with the apricot compote. Scatter the zucchini slices on top and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the thyme.
Cut with a serrated knife and serve.