If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you’ll know how excited I was about this past week’s Chow Locally CSA box of goodies. I got Chickpea flour! I’ve never used it so I immediately started looking up recipes for it. While I was researching recipes for the Chickpea flour I received in my Chow Locally box last week, I came across a recipe for Socca. Socca, also known as farinata and cecina, is a flat bread with 3 simple ingredients: chickpea flour (commonly sold as besan or gram flour), water, and salt. It’s a street food commonly eaten in Nice, France and the Liguria region of Italy.
I am a huge fan of flat breads. I would be happy eating naan and greek style pitas every day of the week! Socca would be a welcome addition to that (imaginary) rotation. The Chickpea flour gives it a wonderful nutty texture, and the method of cooking it makes it delightfully flaky. Not only does it taste amazing, it’s glute free, which makes it a great choice if you have someone with special dietary needs. Chickpea flour is also high in minerals like potassium and iron, as well as vitamins B6 and B9, not to forget the hefty dose of protein.
Traditionally socca is made in wood burning ovens, so I opted to use my smoked salt to mimic the flavor. One of the articles I read said that black pepper was also traditional so I used a good bit of that as well! Use whatever you like, though. Put some herbs in with the oil, garlic, onions, or whatever your little heart desires. 🙂 The original recipe by Mark Bittman can be found here.
1 c. chickpea flour
1-3 c. water (According to Mark Bittman, “If you want a creamy, custardy texture, add 3 cups water. If you want something more cracker-like go with 1 cup of water. ”) I used about 1 & 1/2 c. water, although next time I think I’d go with 2 or more
1/4 tsp smoked salt (Keep an eye out for a post talking more about the wonderfulness of Smoked Salt!)
~1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
~2-3 tbsp of olive oil
Whisk together all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and set aside. You can let the batter hang out for up to 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Pour enough olive oil in to coat the bottom of an oven proof skilled or round pan plus a little more. You want a good layer in there, don’t be afraid of the oil. 😉 Now is the time to add any flavor agents you might want. Place the pan in the oven and heat until it’s fragrant but not smoking.
Pour the batter into the hot pan, it will sizzle and pop, some spots cooking immediately. That’s ok! It just adds to the flaky goodness.
Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. It’s finished when it releases from the bottom of the pan. If desired, when the socca is finished turn on the broiler and let it brown for a minute or two (don’t walk away or it could burn!).
Cut it into wedges or any shape pieces you like and enjoy. You can have this as an appetizer or as a bread with dinner. Either way, it’s delicious!
Be Happy! 🙂