Smokey Roasted Eggplant and Squash with Millet Socca
I made this dish on a cool day. Overcast and breezy, windows open. No other condition would have led me to turn my oven on during mid-Summer. My kitchen still got balmy while making the socca and this roasted eggplant and squash dish. I admit I was sweating through the whole process. Though in some way that makes me feel like an Italian mama. Crafting with heart and love in heat and cold alike. Piling my hair on top of my head. Wiping my face with a rag. Tasting a bit of this and that and checking the different elements of the dish as I bustle to a fro. Grinding spices in my mortar. Listening to the pan sizzle and spurt as I pour in the socca batter, quickly setting it in the blistering hot oven. The physicality of cooking is so juicy and satisfying, it tires and elates me all at once. Like a long hike or a productive weeding expedition in the garden. It's all scents and textures and hands covered in olive oil and splitting open golden cherry tomatoes to reveal perfectly symmetrical cream-white seeds. It makes me feel viscerally, powerfully feminine.
I can't seem to get over this roasted eggplant and squash dish! I've made it every other night for over a week. The dish itself is buttery and smokey, the warm, savory spices balanced with a handful of fresh basil at the end. I've made it with eggplant and squash here, but it's also great with eggplant and cauliflower. It's all about the eggplant, really. It develops a melt-in-your mouth texture during high-heat roasting.
The millet socca is great for soaking up every last bit of flavor on the plate. And it adds a boost of iron, lecithin, and protein to the overall dish. Millet, much like quinoa and amaranth, is a seed-grain that's a complete protein all on its own. It's alkalinizing, which makes it a great choice during the Summer when we can become the most inflamed due to the heat. The flatbread I've made here is not dissimilar from a traditional chickpea socca. It's tender and savory and crisp around the edges. It's one of those foods that has a wide range of pairings. I like it alongside Indian curries and fresh hummus and just about any mediterranean dish.
- 1 cup millet flour
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons virgin olive oil + more for the pans
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin, freshly ground
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the millet flour, chickpea flour, water, and olive oil. Stir until the mix is even. Add the minced garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, pepper, and salt.
- Cover and set aside for about half an hour (the longer the better) so that the flours can absorb the liquid.
- When you're ready to start cooking, preheat the oven to 450F and set a 12" cast iron pan over high heat on your range. Add about 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Once the pan is good and hot (and your oven is preheated) pour the socca batter into the pan and immediately transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat up to BROIL and cook another 3-5 minutes, until the edges of the socca are crisp.
- Very carefully, remove the socca from the oven and place the pan on a heat-safe surface. Using a metal spatula, transfer the socca to a sheet of parchment paper to cool.
- To serve, cut the socca into triangular wedges. Serve warm.
- 2 medium globe eggplants, peeled and chopped into 1" cubes
- 1-2 large yellow summer squash, sliced into rounds and then halved
- 4 tablespoons good quality virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin
- 1 teaspoon whole black pepper
- 1.5 tablespoons smoked paprika
- pinch cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon celtic sea salt + more to taste
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- handful fresh basil, chopped roughly
- 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped eggplant and squash and drizzle the olive oil over top. Toss to coat the veg evenly with oil.
- Bruise the cumin in a mortar to break it up a bit. Add the cumin to the bowl of veg.
- Grind the black pepper up loosely in your mortar. Add the pepper to the bowl of veg.
- Add the paprika, cayenne, and salt. Toss everything together to evenly coat the veg in the spices.
- Roast for 30 minutes. The vegetables will be fork tender and some will just be beginning to blacken.
- Remove from the oven. Let cool 5 minutes, then add the maple syrup and chopped basil and tomatoes and toss once again to combine. Serve warm with millet socca.
P.s. I'll be at FloydFest this year selling raw coconut water with my husband July 22-26th! If you're going to the fest come say hi and get a refreshing alkalinizing tonic! xo -- Renee