Topanga Canyon chef Alina Hardin’s biggest tip for an impressive dinner party? Let the beauty of the ingredients do most of the work. Here, local ingredients are our guide for a healthy, inspired menu for hosting a gathering with your friends.
Savory Chickpea Pancake with Greens, Pickles, and Egg
For the Chickpea Pancake (Socca)
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup + 2 Tbsp water
1 tsp salt
a shake of coarse ground pepper
1.5 Tbsp olive oil
Other Ingredients: Wild Rice, Seasonal Greens
For the Pickles:
1 cup vinegar, such as white, apple cider, or rice
1 cupt water
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
For the Spicy Vegan Aioli
1⁄2 cup grapeseed oil
1 Tbsp sriracha
This recipe is a take on a Salad Nicoise. You can substitute any of the toppings with ones of your choosing with the idea that the savory chickpea pancake is your plate.
1. To make the Socca, or chickpea pancake, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork until combined. Heat a skillet on medium with a tablespoon of oil. When the skillet is nice and hot, pour in about a cups worth of the batter. After about two minutes, check to see that the pancake is browned then gently flip over and cook for another two minutes.
2. The pickles can come in various shapes and sizes. Choose any vegetables of your choice: carrots, radish, green beans, etc., wash and trim them, then pack them into jars. Meanwhile make a vinegar bath in a saucepan with vinegar, sugar, salt and water. Pour warm brine over the vegetables to cover. Let sit for at least an hour or overnight.
3. Soft boiled turmeric eggs are an easy, delicious way to add a bit of protein to any dish. To soft boil the eggs, bring a pot of water to a boil then gently place your eggs in one by one and set your timer for 8 minutes. This makes for a slightly soft, golden yolk. If you prefer a harder yolk, 9-10 minutes should do. Remove your eggs and immediately run cold water over them. Peel them, place them in a jar then cover them with combined mixture of warm water, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and turmeric. Let sit overnight to soak in the full flavor and color.
4. For the vegan aioli, combine vegenaise and sriracha and mix well. Put on everything, and use as a dip for anything.