With cooler weather coming soon, I thought this was a good time to introduce socca to the recipe collection. If you’re not familiar with socca, it’s a quick, simple and savory flatbread made with chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour making it gluten free and good source of protein and fiber. It’s a popular dish in and around the area of Nice, France and province of Genoa, Italy. In Italy, where it originated, it’s referred to as farinata. Depending on your geographical location, you will find this flatbread served various ways using the same batter base of one part flour to water plus salt and oil. Typically this flatbread is served with a few herbs and spices and eaten with the hands. It can be eaten as is (torn apart or sliced), served with condiments or served topped with various ingredients. It pairs well with soups, salads, a side of hummus or harissa and as meal topped or stuffed (like crepes) with different ingredients of choice. There really are many variations of chickpea flatbread and I’ll be happy to experiment in the future with some of the techniques and styles of serving socca. You may already be familiar with the Savory Chickpea Pancake which is another way to use chickpea flour. It’s made like a pancake with vegetables of choice mixed right into the batter. Really so delicious and can be served any time of day…a must try as well!
You can prepare your socca with just salt and pepper for seasoning or for added flavor you can add a smidgen of various spices like thyme, rosemary, cumin, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, zaatar, etc. There are no rules to the spices, simply use what you love or will pair well with the accompanied dish. Today I added red pepper flakes for a little heat along with a dash of cumin and garlic powder. I tore my socca apart and ate it with a side of hummus. A simple and satisfying snack!
In this recipe I’ve used a cast iron skillet but you can use any flat, shallow and oven-safe baking dish you have on hand. Once your socca is done, gently lift edges with a spatula, pull apart, or slice, and enjoy hot or warm!
- 1 cup garbanzo bean flour (aka: besan)
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil + more for pan
- 1/2 teaspoon mineral salt
optional add-ins for variation
- 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary or thyme
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- chopped basil
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- sliced shallots
In a medium size mixing bowl, add flour, water, oil and salt. Whisk until smooth, cover and let set for at least 15 minutes, up to 12 hours, covered, on the counter or overnight in the fridge.
Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place a well seasoned skillet on the middle rack while oven is heating (we want it to get nice and hot). Once oven is ready, carefully remove skillet, add 2 tablespoons oil and carefully twirl skillet so the oil coats the bottom evenly. Add batter and place back in the oven for 12—15 minutes, until golden on the edges and firm throughout. Once done you may like to add a more golden and rustic look, turn broiler to high, place skillet under broiler for about 2 minutes, until top starts to golden a bit.
Remove pan, let cool a few minutes, using a spatula gently push under and around the sides of the flatbread. Tip skillet to remove socca bread or carefully flip skillet over to remove. Cut into slices or pull apart and eat. Socca is best eaten right away.
Using a 12 inch skillet, pan or baking dish will give you a thinner bread, while a 10 or 8 inch skillet will give you a slightly thicker bread. The one I have shown here is a 10 inch, bread was about 1/4 inch thick.
If you don’t have an iron skillet, you can use any flat, shallow oven-safe baking dish.
Chickpea flour (aka: garbanzo bean flour or besan) can be found on-line, at most health conscious stores and at Indian and Middle Eastern markets.