Socca to me!

(Too much?)

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.

44 comments to “Socca to me!”

  1. I would gladly devour several right now!

  2. …I love the look of this but I was thinking, “what, no butter?”, and I mean either in it or on it? So this would be an appetizer of sorts I’m guessing or could this be pared with a pasta dish? This def’ sparks my curiosity and will have to try it for myself. :o)

    …Love the title too btw – you’re so creative! ;o)


  3. Oh, yum! Brunch is at my house this Sunday, and this sounds like it would make a great accompaniment to the savory side of things.

  4. I’ve seen a few socca recipes about the blogosphere, but none so far has made ma want to cook them – until now. I may have to dig out that bag of chickpea flour from the depths of the cupboard and give it a whirl. :-)

  5. Yum! I just recently tried socca and yours looks great! I love the crispy edges :) I will definitely be adding rosemary to mine next time.

  6. tj, I think socca is best as a snack with a beer or a glass of wine or some homemade syrup/soda. I’m not sure what I would pair it with and honestly, the first 10 minutes out of the oven are the best. I don’t want to have to deal with this and dinner at the same time. Maybe a salad?

  7. Oooh…I love Socca! I will definitely be trying this. There is a restaurant in NYC that used to serve chickpea ‘fries’. Basically, it was Socca cooked in strips like french fries. They served it with a lemon garlic aioli. Absolutely delicious. They have changed their menu & don’t make them anymore, but I still dream about them. I imagine that aioli would be yummy on your Socca too.

  8. Not too much! This could probably still be thrown in a cast iron skillet in the oven, yes?

  9. Kimberly- Yes, cast iron skiller would be great. And if anyone has a 14-inch pizza pan, you can make one giant pancake.

    Chickpea fries sound delicious.

  10. I also add in one thinly sliced onion a la mark bittman and use a large 12 inch skillet for basic 1 cup besan ( Indian chick pea flour) recipe. I tried a 10 inch pan once, but it made them too thick. (Still good, but not nearly as good as the thinner version)

    Appetizer, absolutely, but be careful, these are so good that you will run out quickly. Occassionally, we just make another batch and skip the rest of the meal.

  11. I did not know about socca until I read about it in Ottolenghi’s Plenty, but in Italy we make a very similar dish called cecina or farinata, maybe containing a bit more olive oil. The best ones are cooked in a wood oven, and it is definitely a social event to share with dozens of friends. It is served on its own, or occasionally as a stuffing for focaccia.

  12. I have found that with chickpea flour you can toast it on the stove and it will thicken a lot faster once you make a dough with water. Just keep stirring on low heat till it smells nutty.

  13. Woah, I’ve never heard of socca before, but chickpeas & rosemary? Sign me up! These look gorgeous & delicious.

  14. nancy- yes, onion is a good addition!

    jason- that is great tip. but maybe don’t do that here, because you need the batter to be very loose so that it quickly spreads out in the hot pan. but that could be good for those chickpea fries. or, i guess you could just increase the water….

  15. I’d never heard of Socca before reading this, and I have to say, interest peaked! Looking forward to trying this out.

  16. This looks amazing! What a perfect starter/ice breaker for a dinner party.

  17. Lovely pictures! Here in Southamerica, Socca is known as Fainà, great idea to add fresh rosemary. Thanks for sharing your recipes.

  18. answer to your first question: NEVER!!

    alsooo, that first photo is gorgeous. bravo!

  19. I made this tonight (happened to have a single cup of chickpea flour on hand!) to go with a soup I had on the stove and it was fantastic! Super tasty and simple. I sent the recipe to my gluten-free friends.

    I also, by the way, didn’t really let it sit and added the onions and it turned out beautifully.

  20. stephanie says:

    March 24th, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Perfect timing! Just yesterday I bought a package of what was labeled “Cinque e’ Cinque” for making what’s also called farinata. ingredients? Only chickpea flour! Next time, I’ll go for Bob’s which I’m sure will be cheaper. Can you do the whole thing on the stove top in a cast iron pan? Or cook the bottom that way, then stick it in the broiler for the top?

  21. Sivan Harlap says:

    March 24th, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    oohhhhh I’m gonna totally make this one soon! love naturally gluten free bread type stuff!

  22. Use these two socca to make a grilled cheese sandwich – one of the greatest things one can do. I had the grilled cheese squares with chili for the Super Bowl:

  23. Hey Stephanie- Sure, give it a try. I used this method, but I am sure yours would work too. Let us know….

  24. Years ago we couchsurfed with a couple in Utrecht and the husband was from Italy. He made us this bread and I loved it. I’m glad to have this recipe as a reminder to pick up some chickpea flour next time at the store. The addition of caramelized onions would be wonderful!

  25. Tim–this is too funny. My post right before the recent purple pesto bit was a socca! But mine was Mark Bittman- rather than Dorie Greenspan-inspired. And I am so onboard with your comment about having it with beer or wine. We had ours with a nice spanish red and it was perfect.

  26. It sounds very similar to Indian Flat bread called “Missi Roti”.Condiments of choice can be added to spice or herb it up. But a delicacy nevertheless.Socca looks lovely and very do-able.Somewhere it rings. “healthy”,so it makes it to the top of my “to try list”
    Thanks for sharing.

  27. About five years ago, when I lived in Northern Italy, around Barolo, the high school kids would eat farinata as a pizza topping – it was sold in wedges and then eaten right on top of a same-size slice of pizza.
    It also was just sold as a street food. I remember sitting on a cold bench after wandering through a flea market for hours, waiting for the farinata to finish baking inside a little stall. When it came out (rosemary and sea salt-strewn), it was steaming with heat and too good not to burn one’s mouth on, with brown crusts and scrambled-egg texture inside.
    I’ve always used the recipe from The Silver Spoon, but this looks like it will make a more manageable amount. I will obviously be cooking some tonight!

  28. DAFreitag says:

    March 27th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I meant to mention this the day you posted, but surgery got in the way. Hopefully others haven’t already mentioned. There are somewhat similar dishes made in several places in the world. We make cheelas (Indian) at home frequently. I first learn about them from the book, “American Masala”. There are quite a few variations of this type of crepe out there. The tomato chutney is a quick one, but you can eat plain or with just about any other and be happy (coconut chutney is a favorite in our house, for example). Someone has posted the recipe from the book here:

  29. Never heard of this before, but it looks so good! Definitely going to try it. I love your blog; it’s always good for introductions to new and interesting things!! :o)

  30. This looks so good! I just found this blog looking for the best tomato soup ever, and instead of cooking, I just sat and looked at every single recipe on here. I’m so excited to make these things!

  31. This looks so good! Love how these look – yum. :)

  32. lazy_lurker says:

    March 28th, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Yea, I’ve been socca-loving lately. I love the David Lebowitz version with lots of cumin. So good!

  33. I totally made this over the weekend with ratatouille…. DELICIOUS!
    Thanks for posting!

  34. I have been reading about this, I really must give it a try.


  35. I love socca! I have baked it many times and my biggest take-away has been that when you change brands chickpea flour you drastically change the taste and texture of your socca. I don’t have a favorite brand, but the unopened bag in my cabinet is Bob’s Red Mill so I’m happy to hear that you like it. Also, I’m going to have to try making my socca with rosemary. Thanks for the tip.

    Melissa, David Lebovitz has a good recipe for panisses, which are probably the chickpea fries you’re talking about. I tried making panisse and it was delicious, but I’ll personally take socca with lots of freshly ground cumin over it any day.

  36. This sounds similar to an Indian chick pea flour dosa (puda). I am going to try making socca now. Thanks for the recipe!

  37. I have a ton of dried chickpeas -do you think would it suffice to grind them up to make chickpea flour?

  38. Hi Gen, I never have- so I am not sure. If you have a powerful food processor or grinder I would guess it is worth a try. You want the flour to be powdery and flour-like, so maybe after grinding you should run it through a strainer to get rid of any larger pieces. Or google and see if anyone has advice…

  39. Just made this again with some thinly sliced onions and red pepper flakes. It was really great that way, but I think I prefer it with the rosemary. Either way, it’s definitely beer’s best friend.

  40. Excellent, I bought some chickpea flour about a month ago and have been waiting for a good recipe to use it. This fits the bill, thanks!

  41. I have neither travels to Nice or had socca. It does, hoever, look like something I would really enjoy (the trip especially). Now I want to go and buy some chickpea flour to make this. What do you usually eat it with?

  42. Hi Damaris, I normally eat it as a snack. It is good with a glass of wine!

  43. Kate Bicknell says:

    January 16th, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    I have found that if you fold one whipped egg white into the batter gently it makes a lighter fluffier version that is fantastic. You can top with rosemary, olives, sundried tomatoes, whatever. Cheers

  44. Excellent recipe. First time ever making it, and I used a 9×9 square nonstick shortbread pan that has little designs at the bottom. Not only did the socca come out pretty and VERY tasty, but the designs also made more crisped surfaces. Thank you so much for this! It was really easy, too.

What do you think?