My friend C**dy gifted me with a nice big sack of apples yesterday. She made me promise not to tell anyone where I got them because an as-yet-unidentified pest got at her apple tree and some of the apples are a teensy bit brown around the core. I kept my promise and am protecting C**dy’s apple shame here but I couldn’t have been happier with my perfectly imperfect apples. See, the ones I’ve been buying at the farmers market are so perfect for eating right now I get my own stab of apple shame every time I go to cook or juice them. I imagine reproach in every perfectly muted cloudy red-green skin, in every artful fleck.
Sunday morning I blithely fried up a big ‘ol mess of C**dy’s imperfect apples with some onions, spread them over some chickpea flour pancakes that I had been dying to make from Yotam Ottolengi’s Plenty, scattered them with some sharp Grana Padano parmesan and topped each one with a fried over easy egg. It was a delicious and unusual weekend breakfast and a great reminder that nothing is more perfect for cooking than an imperfect apple.
Chick Pea Flour Pancakes or Socca From Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty
By the way, this the best cookbook I bought last year. The recipes are intelligent and the photos heart-stoppingly gorgeous ; it will provide inspiration for years to come.
2 3/4 cups chick pea flour
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water
2 egg whites
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 275 degress.
Place chick pea flour, water, olive oil and a little salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well with a hand whisk until all ingredients are incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites till they form soft peaks. Gently fold them into the batter.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and brush lightly with oil.
Take a small non-stick frying pan(I use Greenpan brand) that is about 6 inches in diameter. Brush it with a very small amount of olive oil. Put on high heat for a couple of minutes, then reduce heat to medium-high and pour in about a quarter of the socca batter* Pancake should be a scant 1/4 inch thick. After about two minutes air bubbles will appear on the surface and the pancake will have set on its base. Use an offset spatula to release its edges from the pan, then carefully lift and turn it over. Cook for another minute. Transfer to the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the batter. When all the pancakes have been made, place in the oven for 5 minutes.
*This is what the recipe said, personally, I used a little less and wound up with a couple extra pancakes.
Apples n’ Onions N Eggs
4 apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced.
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup filtered water
1/3 cup large grated Grana Padano Parmesan cheese
Fresh thyme, for garnish(optional)
big pinch of sea salt
Butter, for frying eggs
Heat a large heavy saucepan to medium high, add sunflower oil and allow the oil to heat for about a minute and a half. Add onions and cook until they are very soft and beginning to caramelize, about ten minutes. Add cinnamon, stirring briskly for 40 seconds. Add apples, water, salt and maple syrup, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook down stirring frequently until apples are quite soft and most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan. Spread apple and onion mixture evenly over four chickpea flour pancakes. Scatter Parmesan cheese overtop and place in the oven. Meanwhile fry four eggs either over easy or sunny side up. Pull baking sheets out of oven, cheese should be starting to melt. Top each apple and onion pancake with an egg. Give it a grind of pepper and serve. I liked to dip the leftover edges of my pancake into a little more maple syrup.