by Meg Cotner on February 24, 2010

socca round

Socca, too me, has always had an exotic aura about it.   From time to time I’d imagine what it might be like to eat it while lingering on vacation in the south of France, enjoying this chickpea crepe on a lazy afternoon in sea-salted air.

I wondered if it needed special ingredients that you could only get abroad.  Well, the answer is… no.  Turns out it’s simple, unpretentious food, made with only a handful of ingredients. My favorite!

I was inspired most recently to make socca after going through the little bags of flours in my pantry, and putting some of them in glass jars that I bought on the weekend. I had the majority of a bag of chickpea flour sitting on the shelf, left over from making baked sweet potato falafel a while back.  The flour didn’t all fit in my glass jar, so I thought why not use some of it up. Socca came to mind immediately.

socca batter in the pan

socca slice new

I first checked for the recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, but turns out that particular recipe called for an addition of a cup of white flour, something I wasn’t too keen on. So, I turned to the interwebs for guidance. I came across David Lebowitz’s recipe, which was simple and straightforward in its ingredients, and was exactly what I was looking for (and no white flour).

It was delicious!  Very easy to make, consisting of five ingredients that come together effortlessly.  It was well-received in my household, so much so that I plan to make it regularly.  This summer I’ll be eating it with an ice cold glass of rosé.

from David Lebowitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris

I found it to be easier to heat up the initial pan of olive oil on top of the stove instead of in the oven with the broiler. This also means there is one less scary grab of a hot hot hot pan handle.  Socca is also naturally gluten free.

1 cup (130g) chickpea flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (280ml) water
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
freshly-ground black pepper, plus additional sea salt and olive oil for serving

Mix together the flour, water, salt, cumin, 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 (I use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet) with the remaining olive oil and heat the pan on top of the stove (you can heat it in your oven if you prefer).

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.

Makes about three 9 10-inch (23cm) pancakes

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