Those of you who have traveled to Nice have likely come across a socca vendor or two. I didn’t imagine it was something I could (or would want to) make at home, even though recipes for it have been popping up everywhere lately. The recipes are all basically chickpea flour and water, with a little olive oil and salt thrown in for good measure. As is so often the case, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and it can be made at home.
Traditionally socca is cooked in a giant cast iron skillet over a hot fire. At home, your oven will work just fine. You make a simple batter, let it rest, and add it to smoking hot pans to cook for less than 10 minutes. After removing from the oven you give it a very generous sprinkling of black pepper and then tear into it. Seriously, do not cook this in advance. Gather your friends around and watch as everyone devours it in 5 minutes flat. I loved making this at home and as I type these words find it almost impossible to resist the urge to make more right now. It is so good.
Dorie Greenspan suggested throwing in some rosemary, and I listen to Dorie, so I did. It was a great addition. Those non-traditionalists out there will find other stuff to add to the batter, I have no doubt (onions are also good).
In any case, enjoy.
Socca (adapted from Dorie Greenspan, and others)
- 1 cup chickpea/garbanzo bean flour (Bob’s Red Mill is great)
- 1 cup of room temperature water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for pans)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (optional, of course)
Whisk everything together in a bowl. the batter with be very thin. Think crepes. You can let it sit on the counter for a couple of hours, or refrigerate it overnight. Place two 8-inch round cake pans in center rack of oven and preheat oven to 500°F. It is hot, so make sure your pans and oven are clean or you’ll get smoke (mine definitely smoked). Add a tablespoon of oil to each pan and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Return to the oven for a couple of minutes to heat up the oil. Carefully remove the hot pans from the oven and pour half of the batter into each pan (I am terrible at judging half, so I poured it into a measuring cup first). Cook for 5 minutes, turn on broiler and broil for an additional 3-4 minutes, until the top is getting some nice burnt patches. Remove from oven and carefully flip out onto a cutting board. Have at it.