August 27, 2019
Family Verdict:


300g cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and ground black pepper
Olive oil
800g white onions, peeled and cut into rings
2 tbsp picked thyme leaves ( I used 2 tsp of dried as it's what I had)
½ tsp white-wine vinegar
200g chickpea flour (aka gram flour)
450ml water
Crème fraîche to serve

Preheat the oven to 130C/250F/gas mark ½.

Spread the tomatoes, cut side up, over a small baking tray, sprinkle over some salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil, and bake for 25 minutes - they are not supposed to dry out completely, just semi-cook.

Next, heat four tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and thyme, season and sauté, stirring all the while, over a high heat for about a minute. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking the onions for another 20 minutes, stirring them occasionally. You want them soft, sweet and golden brown, but not very dark. At the end, stir in the vinegar, taste and adjust the seasoning.

Increase the oven temperature to 170C/325F/gas mark 3.

In a bowl, use a hand whisk to mix together the chickpea flour, water, one and a half tablespoons of olive oil, half a teaspoon of salt and some pepper. The batter should be totally smooth. Line two oven trays with greaseproof paper, brush this with a little oil and set aside. Take a small nonstick frying pan, roughly 14cm in diameter at its base, and brush very lightly with oil. Place the pan over a high heat for a couple of minutes, then reduce to medium-high and pour in a quarter of the socca batter - it should be about 0.5cm thick. After two minutes or so, air bubbles will appear as it sets. Use a palette knife to release the pancake's edges from the pan, then carefully lift and turn over. Cook for two more minutes, then transfer to the lined oven tray. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Put the pancakes in the warm oven for eight minutes, then remove and set aside until ready to serve.

Spread the pancakes with plenty of onion - they need to be covered all over - then top with tomato halves and return to the oven to heat up, for about seven minutes or so. Serve warm with crème fraîche on the side.


This is an Ottolenghi - from Plenty I think. It being Summer and Hot, I was flicking through for some salad ideas for supper when I came across this. It caught my ee because the tomato plants I have grown from seed this year are at that bountiful stage where you are looking for ways to use them. This uses cherry tomatoes so the idea was seeded. The Eldest had just returned from a holiday with friends in Canada (fantastic, but almost trampled by a moose - you would not believe how BIG they are) and I thought this would be a nice thing to cook for her and me for lunch. I guessed the younger daughters would sniff, and I was right in that. I think the Boy was in Slovenia.....

Anyway, as I was cooking just for 2 I halved the quantities below. I dont want to argue with Mr O, but he says Gram flour is chickpea flour, and I am not sure. My Gram flour says it is yello lentil flour, which is not the same at all. Never mind I took him at his word and the resulting souffle panckaes have a metallic earthiness to them which complemented the stewed sweet onions and gloriously sweet and sour tomatoes. It was a bit long-winded for lunch, but would make a nice light supper in the summer too.

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