I heard about socca for the first time just a few years ago, I think it was back in 2010 when a friendâ€™s mom, whoâ€™d just returned from living abroad for many years invited us to dinner.
We had roasted ratatouille and couscous, I remember the couscous had strands of saffron and the food smelled heavenly.
We drank wine from the Jura region (of France) while our host regaled us with tales of her travels; she was trying at one point to convince us that couscous was essentially â€˜French foodâ€™ and some werenâ€™t swayed, that threw the conversation into foods that didnâ€™tâ€™ necessarily seem French, like socca.
The best socca, she explained, could be found on the streets of Nice from hole-in-the wall diners to fancy restaurants.
She described this humble street-food, made simply of chickpea flour, water, olive oil and salt, transformed into a thin pancake-like flatbread with crispy edges – was the most exquisite thing sheâ€™d ever eaten.
I promised myself socca was the first meal Iâ€™d eat if I were ever lucky enough to go to Nice.
I didnâ€™tâ€™ give it much thought until a few months ago while flipping through a copy of David Lebovitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris I’d borrowed from someone at work.
In there was a recipe for socca; plain, simple and very tempting.
I made it on a Saturday morning, just before we were to set out on a hike, Iâ€™d heard it was filling, high in good protein and healthy carbs; I decided it was just what we needed. The hike, by the way, never happened â€“ but our tummies were full.
Itâ€™s one of the easiest things Iâ€™ve ever made, itâ€™s not a fancy or pretty looking dishâ€¦ it isnâ€™t superficial but itâ€™s ridiculously delicious â€“ almost addictive!
We ate it plain, right out of the pan, standing and not bothering to sit.
Naturally, itâ€™s vegan and gluten free.
From The Sweet Life in Paris, recipe here
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- freshly-ground black pepper, additional sea salt and olive oil for serving
- Mix flour, water, salt, cumin, pepper, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil
- Let batter rest at least 2 hours, covered, at room temperature
- To cook, heat the broiler in your oven
- Oil a 9- or 10-inch (23cm) pan with the remaining olive oil and heat the pan in the oven
- Once the pan and the oven are blazing-hot, pour enough batter into the pan to cover the bottom, swirl it around, then pop it back in the oven
- Bake until the socca is firm and beginning to blister and burn. The exact time will depend on your broiler
- Slide the socca out of the pan onto a cutting board, slice into pieces, then shower it with coarse salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil
- Cook the remaining socca batter the same way, adding a touch more oil to the pan between each one
I love this! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I used to work at a “french-inspired Northwest eats” restaurant where they served amazing chickpea “fries.” The dish, like socca, consists of only chickpea flour, sea salt, pepper, and water, and then are deep fried to a crispy bliss. They are then served with a homemade curry mayonnaise. I wonder if the chef had this dish in mind.31 August, 2012 at 1:36 pm
Your blog is beautiful, and your writing is enchanting! You inspire me. 🙂
Awww… Thank you! And yum, deep fried socca would be awesome, it sounds a little like pakora, which is deep fried chickpea fritters but would usually have veggies like carrots, peas and cauliflower added. 🙂31 August, 2012 at 2:52 pm
Hey! I have been looking for a pancake recipe with chckpea flour that is made on a frying pan not in the oven (I live in a dorm and we dont have one). Do you have nay idea would this work on a frying pan?15 September, 2012 at 6:03 am
Yes, you can make it in a frying pan over a stove. Heat the frying pan with a little oil, pour the batter and cook for a few minutes. The flip the socca over and cook the other side for another few minutes. Good luck! 🙂15 September, 2012 at 7:13 am
Looks delicious! Is it more of a snack, or can you have it with other food as part of a meal? If so, what would you recommend?16 February, 2014 at 11:37 pm
Thanks Katie, it’s indeed a snack but I see no reason why it can’t be incorporated with other foods – it’s savoury so it’ll go well with rice dishes, pile your favourite salad on top of it, or with tomato sauce and veggies like pizza. I’ll even try it as a side with roasted veggies, stews or soups or with chicken or meat dishes (if you eat meat).17 February, 2014 at 9:31 am
Hope this is helpful 🙂
Sweet… thanks for the great ideas!17 February, 2014 at 6:05 pm
You’re welcome! 🙂18 February, 2014 at 10:28 am