[Delicious as a pizza--stellar as a quiche. This recipe has many talents!]
Have you heard that Hugh Jackman, that alluring Aussie known best for his role as a latter day wolfman, is performing a one-man cabaret-style show here in Toronto right now? That’s right: Wolverine’s tricks span beyond giving manicurists nightmares or saving bald-headed professor-types from magnetized death, all the way to singing, dancing, and delivering one-liners.
In the olden days (ie, when I was a tot), entertainers were required to have it all: Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Vera Ellen, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland et al–each one of them could sing, dance and act (with varying degrees of aptitude). Today’s all-in-one players like JLo, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake and their crew just don’t cut it the way the old-timers did, in my opinion. If you keep in mind that the stars of eras gone by had to actually do it all at once–no lip syncing or pre-taped music!–today’s feature players simply pale in comparison. Back then, an orchestra played live while the thespians sang and danced. Get something wrong, and they had to film the entire scene over again. Now, that’s entertainment.
Similarly, the notion of the true, multi-talented “Renaissance Man” seems to be in short supply these days. Although I didn’t realize it when we first met, I think of the HH as just that kind of fellow (see, he even incites my use of Renaissance-era words like “fellow”!). It was the height of summer when we started dating, and having just emerged from a divorce, the HH was still in party mode. At the time, I assumed that he would be perpetually a scruffy guy in jeans and a T-shirt, who seemed to like nothing more than spending time on patios or smoky jazz bars, soaking up mindless movies, or reading magazines about expensive race cars.
When winter hit, I tried a new tactic: I invited him to the ballet (The Nutcracker, as I recall). “Sounds great!” he enthused, totally unphased. “I haven’t seen it in a few years. Always a good time for Tchaikovsky.” Huh?! Not only was he entirely familiar with the ballet and all of the music–he had actually been friends with one of the National Ballet of Canada’s principal dancers back in the 1980s! I quickly ascertained (and time has proven) that the HH was one of those rare individuals who could mingle with anyone or go anywhere, equally at ease in tattered Levis and sneakers, or a Hugo Boss suit and brogues (though, to be fair, he only wears his suit about twice a year). Whatever the habidashery, though, the HH is comfortable in just about any context.
[Does this pie sing to you?]
I think of the chickpea flour in this recipe in much the same way: it’s also a kind of “Renaissance Ingredient.” (What a minute here. Did I just compare the love of my life to a dried legume? Don’t answer that.)
One of the great things about chickpea flour is how well it can serve so many different purposes, equally delicious in all of them. It’s a great high-protein flour to add to your all-purpose gluten free flour mix. It works beautifully in pancakes and other breakfast foods, in savory dishes, as a thickener in sauces. Alone or within a group, chickpea flour plays well with others. It’s multi-talented.
Used as the base of this “quiche,” chickpea flour is simply unrivalled. Now, I’ve written about my love of the Lucini brand’s Cinque et Cinque before (a specially milled chickpea flour) and how I used the mix to create a stupendous “pizza” crust. I do try to get the mix when I can, but when I ran out, I used regular chickpea flour (since that’s the only ingredient in the “Traditional” flavor) instead. I’ve found that the store-bought flour works almost as well. In fact, if you don’t have the Cinque right beside it for comparison, you’d swear they were identical.
The last time I mixed up some cinque (also known as farinata or socca), I decided to try something different. Rather than pile all my “extras” on top of the pie as a pizza, I folded all the chopped veggies right into the batter and cooked it all together. And oh, my goodness–what a difference that made!
The result really did remind me of a true quiche, albeit a crustless one (which made me think of my friend Shirley, who is prolific with all things GF and crustless). Who needs crust when you have a rich, custardy filling punctuated throughout with shreds of dandelion or chard, roasted garlic slices, oven-dried tomatoes and any other chopped veggies you fancy? The beauty of this method, as well, is how it saves preparation time: this way, instead of stopping to place your toppings strategically over the “pizza,” they’re baked right into it. Magically, the baking time is just right to cook those veggies to perfection–including those raw garlic slices.
The HH couldn’t get enough of this pie. He ate 3 slices for dinner, and remarked how “this is way better than that other chickpea pie you used to make” (I didn’t tell him that it contained exactly the same ingredients, just presented in a different format).
Who knows? Maybe he felt a kinship to the multi-talented, multi-faceted chickpea flour, and that’s why he loved it.
Me, I love them both.
[And speaking of yummy gluten free eats. . . the fabulous Alta of Tasty Eats at Home has adopted me for this month's Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger! I am totally honored! Check out her wonderful post and stunning photo. Then go look at Wendy's roundup at Celiacs in the House, where you can see all of the adoptions from this month!]
Chickpea Flour “Quizza” (suitable for ACD Stage 1 and Beyond)
This is a great brunch or light dinner meal-in-a-pan. The slices can be wrapped and saved for another day (they hold up great for packaged lunches, or even as a sandwich filling) or frozen for a quick meal down the road.
For the Filling:
1/2 bunch thin leafy greens, such as dandelion, chard, or spinach
4 large cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup (240 ml) oven-dried cherry or grape tomatoes, or 1/2 cup (120 ml) reconstituted sundried tomatoes, chopped (if not on ACD)
1/2 cup (120 ml) diced red or other sweet pepper, broccoli or zucchini
For the Base:
2-1/4 cups (250 g) chickpea flour, or one package Lucini Cinque et Cinque
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt, or to your taste
3-1/8 cups (750 ml) filtered water
Preheat oven to 475F (245 C). Lightly grease a large (9 or 10 inch/22.5 or 25 cm)cast iron frypan or quiche pan with coconut oil and place in preheated oven for 5-8 minutes.
While the frypan is heating, prepare the vegetables: trim, wash and spin the leafy greens dry. Chop or shred the leaves. Set aside with the other vegetables.
Prepare the base:
Place the chickpea flour, oil, salt and water in the container of a large blender and blend until smooth and frothy (if using the Cinque mix, you can simply whisk it in a large bowl). Pour into a large bowl and mix in the prepared vegetables.
Once the frypan is heated, remove from the oven and pour the quizza batter into it. Using a silicone spatula, spread the veggies around so they are evenly distributed.
Bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove from heat and dollop with goat cheese, if using. Rotate the pan and return it to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until somewhat puffed and browned on the edges. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Makes 6-8 servings. May be frozen.
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