Snacking with a French Flair
Everyone has his or her favorite snacks… from ice cream, to nuts, to cookies and chips, temptation is everywhere. There are entire aisles in grocery stores dedicated to salty, sweet, crunchy bliss.
Some countries have their own regional twists on snacking. In the southern French town of Nice, a favorite snack is known as “Socca.” Historically the mid-morning snack of manual laborers, old-time Socca vendors would come around with wheelbarrows filled with a specially-designed charcoal stove in which to make the savory flatbread.
What makes Socca different than any other snack you’ve had is that it’s made with chickpea flour. You may not have ever heard of chickpea flour but you probably know its flavor from a common snack here in the states: hummus. Chickpea flour is readily available on Amazon or in specialty natural food stores.
To make Socca, the chickpea flour is mixed with a little water, oil, and salt - the recipe couldn’t be simpler. Though Socca vendors in Nice have special copper pans in which to make the snack, the same results can be had here at home with a simple cast iron skillet.
Although wood-fired ovens add delicious smoky flavor, a hot oven is the easiest way to make Socca at home. The Socca batter should be very thin like crêpe batter and should be cooked until the flatbread is a thin crispy golden brown with a little char around the edges. Top it with some salt and pepper, break it into chunks and enjoy!
Makes two approximately 10” flatbreads
1 cup chickpea flour
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water
Salt & pepper for serving
Special equipment: 10 inch cast iron skillet
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
In a bowl, mix together the chickpea flour, 2 tablespoons of the oil, the salt and the water. Whisk until smooth.
Pour two tablespoons of olive oil into your cast iron pan and, as you would do when making a Dutch Baby German pancake, heat the oil in the pan on the stove until the pan is very hot but the oil is not smoking.
Pour half of the batter into the hot pan and swirl the pan to spread the batter into a thin even coat. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until crispy. Because the Socca is so thin, you do not have to flip it over when cooking.
Sprinkle the Socca with some salt and pepper and break it into large chunks. The uneven chunks add to the casual fun of this savory treat.
Place on a platter. Repeat heating the pan on the stove, adding the last 2 tablespoons of oil and pouring in other half of the batter. Bake as before.