Avocados are in season. At Farmer’s Markets growers are selling them by the bucketload. My avocado food associations? Guacamole. Mexican. Tortilla. For a long time now I have been meaning to try my hand at homemade corn tortillas. Made from a simple dough of corn flour and water. The spanner in the works? Sourcing the specialty corn flour masa harina at a very short, spur of the moment notice. And yes I did consider using finely ground polenta meal but after a quick google search realised this simply would not do.
A quick scan of my pantry yielded a half forgotten container of chickpea flour. Purchased not so long ago as an experiment to make a test batch of La Cecina. Italian street food. A cross between flatbread and pancake. Made from nothing more than chickpea flour, olive oil and sparkling mineral water. It’s nutty and filling and incredibly versatile. Varying the consistency of the batter produces a different result. A slightly heavier batter baked in the oven yields a thick, chewy slab. Cooked on the stove top in a heavy cast iron pan a thin, soft crepe. The more oil you use the crispier the result.
Thinking outside the square I substituted la cecina for the corn tortillas. This being a calorie conscious fast day I settled on a thinner batter, minimal oil and paper thin crepes. Paired with a simple Vine Ripened Tomato, Avocado and Rocket Salad this fast day meal was incredibly delicious and satisfying at an impressive 190 calories per serve. So much so that was lunch and dinner sorted for the day. Leaving room for my much loved 70 calorie skinny cappuccino. Despite copious cups of sugarless tea I do believe that I came in well under my fast day 500 calorie limit.
Chickpea Crêpes With A Vine Ripened Tomato, Avocado and Rocket Salad
Serves 4 ( 190 calories per serve; 85 calories for each crêpe and 95 calories for the salad)
La Cecina (Chickpea Crêpes)
Makes 8 thin crepes (85 calories per crêpe). The assembled salad requires only 4 crepes, 1 per each person so there should be ample leftovers for seconds or a delicious snack.
125 g chickpea flour (484 calories)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil (60 calories)
1 tablespoon chopped soft herbs (1 calorie)
1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated (1 calorie)
1 small red dried chilli crumbled (2 calories)
375 ml sparkling mineral water
an additional tablespoon of oil for greasing the pan (120 calories)
WHISK together the chickpea flour, olive oil, salt and mineral water to create a thin batter. The consistency of the batter should resemble pouring cream.
ALLOW the batter to rest for at least 30 minutes.
WHEN ready to cook the crêpes give the batter a good stir. It may have thickened on standing so add a little more sparkling water if needed.
HEAT a 20 cm crêpe or heavy based pan over medium heat. When very hot add a little olive oil. Swirl to coat the pan and carefully wipe off any excess with a paper towel.
LADLE 3 generous tablespoons of the batter into the pan, tilting the pan in a circular motion as you go to evenly coat the surface. Cook for 2 minutes or until the underside of the crêpe is golden.
SCATTER a generous pinch of finely chopped fresh herbs, chilli and lemon zest over the crêpe before flipping it over with a spatula. Cook through until crispy. Remove from the pan to a warm plate.
WIPE the pan with a little more oil and repeat the process until all the batter has been used. Set aside until ready to serve.
A Vine Ripened Tomato, Avocado and Rocket Salad
Serves 4 (95 calories per serve)
2 handfuls wild rocket, shredded (8 calories)
2 medium vine ripened tomatoes, diced (70 calories)
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and seeded, diced (250 calories)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil (40 calories)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (5 calories)
freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon or 1 lime(6 calories)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
PLACE diced tomato into a bowl. Dress with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and season with sea salt flakes and a good grinding of pepper. Set aside.
TAKE four chickpea crêpes and place in the centre of four serving plates.
ARRANGE the dressed tomatoes over the crêpes. Top with diced avocado and shredded rocket.
DRIZZLE with freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve.