This “Roasted Anaheim Pepper Pesto Farinata (socca) Appetizer” is a blending of nationalities; Anaheim peppers from Mexico, Manchego from Span, curtido slaw from El Salvador and farinata (socca) from Italy. The combination of these ingredients is loaded with flavor! Apparently, this delicious flatbread originated in Genoa Italy. They are called “farinata” in Italy and “socca” in France.
When I was 5 years old, my mom decided that she needed to get out of L.A. She was 27 at the time and had just broken up with her boyfriend. She decided to meet up with my uncle Glenn, her brother, who was living in Italy with his girlfriend Terry at the time. Unfortunately. my mom didn’t have any savings so she had to sell her car to come up with the money for the airfare. So, she sold the car, bought us tickets, packed two large suitcases and off we went. We flew into London and stayed the night at my uncle’s friend’s house. The next morning we arrived at the train station and to my mom’s horror, there was a huge bridge and stairway that we had to cross to get to the correct side of the tracks to catch our train to Rome. There was no way that she could get two large suitcases and a 5 year old over at the same time. So, she dragged one of the large suitcases while holding my hand over to the other side and left it there. We then went back to get the remaining suitcase. It was quite the ordeal.
My mom had made arrangements to rent a room in Rome from a really nice family who took care of us as if we were part of their family. The grandmother made me a very special birthday cake for my sixth birthday. It looked like a bunch of cinnamon rolls stuck together with a cream cheese frosting (most likely mascarpone) and large colorful disk shaped sprinkles. I will never forget it! I also remember losing one of my front bottom teeth down the drain while brushing my teeth. Since we didn’t know how long we were staying, my mom decided to enroll me into the local school. They wore blue and white uniforms, so my mom cut up some old drapes and made me a uniform. I was mortified at first because I didn’t speak Italian and I had to sit at the front of the class next to the teacher facing the other students. I ended up making friends with a few of the kids and it didn’t matter that we didn’t speak each other’s language. We spoke the universal kid language of gestures and facial expressions.
Four months later, my uncle was picked for a starring role in a spaghetti western film that was going to be filmed in Spain. We all packed up into my uncle’s classic green VW van, including two dogs and a cat and we drove off to Spain. I absolutely loved this experience! We ended up camping out in Madrid for a whole month and then we moved into a triangle shaped house, which had floor to ceiling glass windows on one side.
After two months in Spain, my mom decided that we needed to get back to LA because she was running out of money. She called my grandma, her mother, to see if she would lend her some money to purchase tickets home and she refused to lend her the money. So crazy! Terry’s mom ended up loaning my mom the money. We flew into Boston and stayed with Terry’s mom for one night before catching our next flight home. My grandmother must have felt bad because she called Terry’s mom to see where we were. Terry’s mom wasn’t sure if she should tell her that she lent my mom the money so she said we hitchhiked. My grandma got so concerned that she ended up calling the state police. Haha, what a story! Am I right? We made it home safe and sound.
My mom didn’t want me to tell the last part of the story because she thought it would make her look like a bad mother. Actually, to me, she is a badass and way more gutsy than I would ever be. My mom always taught me to just go for it in life. Her motto has always been to feel the fear and do it anyways! Sorry, mom! Hehe. Italy will always hold a special spot in my heart and I hope to visit again someday!
Curtido Slaw – double if you want some on the side
- 3/4 Cup Red Cabbage – thinly sliced
- 3/4 Cup Green or Savoy Cabbage – thinly sliced
- 1/4 Red Onion – thinly sliced
- 3 Cups Filtered Water – boiling
- 1 Small Carrot (1/3 cup) – grated
- 1/4 Cup Radishes – thinly sliced – cut into matchsticks
- 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Jalapeño or Serrano Peppers – thinly sliced or minced
- 1 Garlic Clove – minced
- 1/4 + 1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
- Pinch of Black Pepper – or to taste
Roasted Anaheim Pepper Manchego Pesto – for the whole recipe
- 1/2 Cup (about 2) Anaheim Peppers – roasted
- 1/2 Serrano Pepper – or whole for spicier
- 1/2 Cup Manchego Cheese – finely shredded
- 1/2 Cup Raw walnuts
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
- 1 Small Garlic Clove
- 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1 Cup Garbanzo Bean Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1 Cup Warm water
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Serrano Pepper – minced
- 1/4 Cup Anaheim Pepper – roasted – cubed
Curtido Style Slaw
Roast all the peppers for the pesto and garnish. Place the peppers on the stovetop on medium-high heat. A gas stove works the best but it will work fine on an electric stove. Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs. When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.
Take a paper towel and rub off the char. It’s ok to leave a little of the char. Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems.
While the peppers are cooling, measure all other ingredients and add to a food processor or blender. Add the pepper to the food processor and blend well. If you like it hot, you can leave the seeds in the Serrano peppers.
Add water, olive oil, serrano and salt into a bowl and whisk in chickpea flour until combined. Let sit for at least 30 minutes up to 4 hours.
Heat a large, non-stick pan over medium heat, add a little olive oil and let it get hot.
In batches, add a tablespoon of batter, leaving space between each one. Cook for 1 minute or until bubbles appears, then turn and cook for another minute. Gently slide onto a plate and keep warm in a low oven or cool to room temperature. Repeat with the remaining batter.
*Note – If you want them as perfectly round as you can (they will most likely never be totally PERFECT) use a round cookie cutter for a mold. Pour in the batter and wait a few seconds carefully twist and lift up the cutter. I used an oven mitt in case the cutter became too hot. Wipe off any batter that sticks to the cutter and repeat.
Anaheim pepper are an excellent source of vitamin C, only a 1/4 cup provides you with the daily amount recommended for adults. They are also very high in vitamin A, which is good for your eyes, skin and hair. Peppers are high in fiber and they are rich in phytonutrients that may help prevent disease and keep your body working properly. They are high in Vitamin K that strengthens bones and helps protect cells from oxidative damage. They also have a significant amount of B vitamins, thiamine, niacin, iron and riboflavin.
Cabbage is really low in calories, fat and high in fiber. It’s high in vitamin K that helps with brain function. Red cabbage is the highest in vitamin K than other cabbage. It’s high in sulfur keeping your hair, skin and nails healthy. If you have arthritis, rheumatism, skin diseases or gout, cabbage can help with its high vitamin C and sulphur content. Cabbage is higher in vitamin C than oranges and is a natural antioxidant that helps with premature aging and also helps detoxify the blood and liver. Cabbage helps protect bones from becoming brittle with its high potassium, magnesium, and calcium content. Potassium is also great for reducing high blood pressure allowing the blood vessels to open and the blood to flow freely. It is also high in beta-carotene needed for eye health. The pigment in purple cabbage helps lower blood sugar levels and boost insulin production. It helps your body fight off cancer with the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin. Cabbage is good for your heart, blood pressure, brain, nervous system, immune system, digestion, bowels, bones, eyes, skin, hair and nails.