1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped onion or scallions
About 1/2 cup raw shrimp, chopped, or scallops or other shellfish or fish
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped chives, parsley, thyme or cilantro
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tortillita - Savory Spanish Seafood Chickpea Pancake
We recently bought a bag of chickpea flour, hoping to recreate a version of hummus that we hadn't enjoyed for years. Unfortunately, we were totally off the mark with the recipe and as a result we wound up with lots of the stuff to experiment with.
A quick search on Google found this hidden gem of a dish from New York Times writer Mark Bittman, the Tortillita or Spanish Chickpea Seafood Pancakes
Watch Mark throw one together in a demonstration video - as always his low-key delivery underscores how straightforward this thing is to make, plus he talks a lot about his several attempts and the variations.
Tortillitas hit all of our favorite criteria; appetizer/tapas sized, involves some type of seafood, and is easy to create in a pinch using basic ingredients, except for the chickpea flour.
Mix the dry ingredients together, I like this recipe becasue it's easy to memorize the ratios - 1/2 regular flour to 1/2 chickpea flour, then an amount of water equal to the amount of flour...just remember to put in 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder for every cup of flour you use.
Slowly add in the water...the chickpea flour will cause the mix to clump up if you go too fast.
The recipe mentioned throwing the fish or shellfish into the batter, then ladling it into a hot pan for a shallow fry in the olive oil, but we found that it was best to keep the fish out, ladle the mix in and immediately throw the fish on top as you evened out the batter...you have more control with your placement of the fish and can spread it around, plus the portioning comes out equal and you're not left with one skimpy tortillita and one bulging with fish.
Flip it after about 3 minutes as the edges get crispy; you can use the traditional pancake toss if you want, but I didn't want the fish slopping all over the place, so I turned it in the pan.
After it's golden on the other side, about 3 more minutes, just remove and serve. Here we sliced it into wedges, garnished with a bit of the fish and served it on a bed of warmed rocket.
The flavor of the chickpea flour delivers the umame while the lack of gluten in creates a crispier texture around the edges of the tortillita. You can use pretty much any kind of seafood with this - cod, shrimp, calamari - it just has to be cut small enough to cook fast and not break the pancake as it's forming.
We've made them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night snacks and they never fail to please.