Where has socca been all my life?!
After eyeing socca recipes for a few years and just now finally trying it, I have to admit I feel like I’ve been totally missing out.
If you’re like I was and not familiar with socca, it’s basically a hybrid between a chickpea flour pancake and flatbread. It’s originally from the south of France and north of Italy (where it’s called farinata) and served warm with herbs and often paired with a glass of rosé wine. Um, yes please!
This recipe is:
delicious, healthy, vegan,
gluten-free, simple-to-prepare, diary-free,
grain-free, and high-in-fiber
On the health side, socca makes a fantastic naturally gluten-free flatbread, pizza crust, or just bread-like thing to snack on. The base has just four wholesome ingredients: chickpea (aka garbanzo bean) flour, water, olive oil and sea salt. Chickpea flour is simply ground chickpeas and is minimally processed, unlike most grain flours that have had the bran and nutrients stripped out before becoming flour. You can grind dry chickpeas into your own flour or purchase a high quality chickpea flour at your natural foods store.
Chickpeas are naturally high in protein and fiber. They are naturally gluten-free and, since chickpeas are a legume and not a grain, socca is also grain-free. Chickpeas are also a natural source of iron and high in potassium, making them a super food all around.
You can even use sprouted chickpea flour like I used here for an added nutritional punch. Sprouted beans and legumes have been soaked and sprouted which makes them easier to digest. I use the one from Thrive Market because it’s organic, sprouted, non-GMO, preservative-free, and a really good price to boot! I buy most of my flours, olive oil, and other pantry goods at Thrive Market because they have great prices and follow their 29vValues in all products. Keep sprouted flours in the refrigerator to prolong the shelf life of the product.
Ok, back to the socca. Like I mentioned before, I feel like I’ve been missing out on the socca game so the last few weeks in my kitchen have been all about the socca. Socca pizza, socca flatbread, socca with herbs, and breakfast socca have all make the rounds.
A few tips for success:
- You absolutely need to do this in a cast iron skillet—it won’t work in another type of pan. You can grab a Lodge cast iron skillet for around $20 at most home stores.
- Don’t over pour the pan. Your batter should be thick, but if it’s poured too deep in the pan your socca will turn gummy and won’t set. See my notes on the recipe about the size of your cast iron so you can adjust the amount of ingredients, if necessary. The recipe below is for a 12-inch cast iron skillet. If you have a 10-inch skillet, adjust your measurements per the notes.
- The mistake I made the first few times I tried this was not cooking the socca long enough. Allow the edges to turn close to deep brown and pull away from the pan. Under-cooked socca is underwhelming. Perfectly cooked socca is outstanding!
- 1 cup chickpea flour (aka garbanzo bean flour); I use Thrive Market sprouted chickpea flour
- 1 cup room temperature water
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (I use Real Salt)
- 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary, or other herbs of choice for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Allow it to come up to temperature before heating your cast iron skillet in the oven (see step 3).
- Prepare the socca batter. Combine with chickpea flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Using a whisk, stir in the water until a smooth batter forms. Using the whisk, stir in 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil until the batter is well combined and smooth. You don't need to whip air into the batter, the whisk just helps make it smooth.
- Allow the batter to rest 30 minutes (up to 2 hours). This is an important step, don't skip it. It's just about enough time to allow your oven to come up to temperature and preheat the cast iron skillet.
- Place your cast iron skillet in the oven after the oven has come up to temperature. Allow the cast iron skillet to preheat (empty) in the oven for 15 minutes. This gets the skillet nice and hot and allows for even cooking.
- Once preheated, very carefully remove the cast iron skillet from the oven with oven mitts. Swirl 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil around the hot skillet, then pour your batter into the skillet.
- Return the skillet to the oven and turn the oven to broil. Bake under the broiler for 7-10 minutes until the socca is cooked through and set.
- The socca is done once it slightly pulls away from the sides of the pan and the edges brown.
- Once the socca is prepared, top with your favorite toppings. We like to sprinkle ours with freshly chopped rosemary and an additional small sprinkle of sea salt.
If using a 10-inch skillet, adjust the measurements for the batter to ¾ cup chickpea flour, ¾ cup water, 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and ¼ teaspoon + 1 big pinch sea salt. Still use 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of the pan before cooking.