Sort of a crispy-edged thin pancake or thicker crepe, chickpea socca tastes sweet and nutty, well, like chickpeas. Which makes sense, since the batter is basically chickpea flour, olive oil and water. I’ve wanted to try my hand at socca for a long time, ever since tasting the rounds as a snack, hot off the griddle at an outdoor market in France.
With homemade socca on the mind, I bought a bag of chickpea flour, aka garbanzo bean flour. Then it sat in the pantry unused, for I’m not telling you how long. I needed a kick in the socca-cooking butt. Thank you Gina Hamshaw for the push–for including a socca recipe in your new vegan cookbook!
Socca is super-simple to make, perfect for last-minute Letty, and anyone who, like me, operates on short notice. You whisk together just 5 ingredients, the gluten-free bean flour, olive oil, salt, pepper and water. In this recipe the batter bakes in a hot cast-iron skillet, in a hot oven. Five minutes to mix, 10 minutes to rest, and 20 minutes to bake.
Gina Hamshaw’s gorgeous cookbook, Food52 Vegan: 60 Vegetable-Driven Recipes for Any Kitchen, will get anyone, not just me, into the kitchen. I’ve made 4 other flavorful recipes in the book, and earmarked a half-dozen more. Tempting photos illustrate each and every recipe in the cookbook–just looking at the ganache-frosted chocolate cake, you feel the chocolate melting on your tongue.
10 vegan desserts! As with the drool-worthy cake, sweets in this cookbook that need something “buttery”, for mouth-feel and baking success, use coconut oil and nuts–instead of one of those butter substitutes. Half of the desserts include sugar; the rest are naturally sweetened with fruit, dates, or maple syrup. For a sweet-savory dessert, Hamshaw suggests topping socca with fresh fruit, compote, or jam.
This cookbook got my socca started. Fast and easy, I’ve been cranking out the chickpea socca–3 bags of garbanzo bean flour so far. Next is turning socca into gluten-free pizza crust loaded with ever-changing toppings, same topping you would put on homemade whole wheat pizza crust. I want to make socca tacos too–the flatbread circles are quite bendable, so you can fold them in half and stuff them.
The cool thing is that many people don’t know about socca, so you can get the conversation going by serving it in wedges, with dollops of something tasty on top. Author Hamshaw’s favorite socca toppings include avocado, garlicky sautéed greens and salty olive tapenade. I did just that, to rave reviews.
May this recipe get you in the kitchen to cook something delicious, especially chickpea socca!
Chickpea Socca recipe notes:
- Chickpea flour, also sold as garbanzo bean flour, is nothing more than dried chickpeas ground into flour.
- There’s a similar-to-socca recipe in another new cookbook, Madhur Jaffrey’s Vegetarian India. She adds ¼ teaspoon turmeric, ¼ teaspoon ground chili powder, and ½ teaspoon garam masala to the batter, calls them pancakes, and serves them with spicy chutney.
- Hamshaw’s recipe says to let the batter rest 10 to 15 minutes. Some socca recipes say 2 to 4 hours, but the resting time didn’t seem to make any difference, both produced awesome socca. Researching for this post, I read that soaking the chickpea flour will help your body digest the beans–that might be a basis for longer rest time.
- This socca recipe calls for a 12-inch cast iron skillet. If your skillet is smaller, you’ll need to pour less batter in your pan, about 1/8-inch thick.
- My girlfriend had read about the legendary woman who sells chickpea socca in Nice’s outdoor market. When we were traveling in southern France, in Nice, we made a point to visit her stand, to sample her socca. Needless to say, that taste memory lingers.
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*** I received a review copy of Food52 Vegan: 60 Vegetable-Driven Recipes for Any Kitchen, from Blogging for Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Topped with something bright and savory, chickpea socca can be a light dinner, or a pick-up appetizer. Another option is to serve socca simply, as a gluten-free wedge of “bread”. It’s all good.
- 1 cup chickpea flour, aka garbanzo bean flour
- 1 teaspoon Real Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup water, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pan
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and put a 12-inch cast iron skillet in the oven.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk in the water and 2 tablespoon of olive oil. Let the batter sit for 10 to 15 minutes. The batter will be similar to pancake batter.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and coat the pan with 1 (or 2) tablespoon(s) of olive oil. Pour the batter into the hot skillet and bake for 15 minutes, until firm throughout and lightly browning on the edges. Either bake it about 5 minutes longer, until just starting to brown on top, or, for a more traditional socca, turn on the broiler. Brush the top of the socca with a tablespoon of olive oil and broil until browning on top. Cut into wedges and serve right away.
2 tablespoons (vs 1 tablespoon) of olive oil in the hot skillet, before pouring in the batter, makes the edges more brown and crispy.