Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Recipe for Socca (Garbanzo or Chickpea Flatbread Pancake from France)

Socca
If you can't travel to the south of France, use this recipe to make Socca at home.

Chickpea flour is used all over the world to make thin flatbread crepes, pancakes, or crackers. Depending on where they're made, they can be called Pappadum (India), Farinata (Italy) or Socca (France). Farinata and Socca may or may not be the same, depending on which expert you ask, but they're definitely similar. When I found some chickpea flour at a middle eastern market in L.A., I experimented with Farinata, producing something that tasted great but seemed too thick and looked different than other versions of Farinata I saw around the web. At the time I had some e-mail discussion with David Lebovitz, who had loved the Socca he found in France and had been experimenting with making Socca. He told me there can be quite a lot of variation in different types of chickpea flour, which only made me more determined to try it again.

Fast forward to the release of David's new book The Sweet Life in Paris, and the perfected Socca recipe on his blog, which rekindled my desire to try making it. I was also lucky enough to happen upon a great little cast iron griddle, small enough to fit under the broiler, so a few days ago I gave it a try.

If only I knew how to say it was fantastic in French (or Italian), I could properly express how much I liked this. Definitely thinner and less crispy than my previous Farinata experiment, and perfectly delightful eaten hot from the griddle, with a bit of olive oil drizzled on and some salt and fresh ground black pepper. And did I mention that this low-glycemic treat is not only South Beach Diet friendly, but also gluten free and loaded with nutrients?

I found this brand of garbanzo or chickpea flour at Whole Foods, and it seemed yellower and not as fine as the type I used for my Farinata, so I had hopes it would be more similar to what's used in Europe.

As David recommended, after I mixed the chickpea flour, water, salt, cumin, and olive oil, I let the batter rest for a few hours.

This is my lovely new cast iron griddle, purchased at Smith's Marketplace in Salt Lake City for $12.79. What a bargain, huh? To cook the Socca, you brush the griddle with olive oil, heat it under the broiler, pour on a thin layer of batter, and cook under the broiler.

Maybe I was nervous about burning it, because my first attempt turned out a little pale, although it was quickly devoured with no complaints!

This was my second try, but by the third one I learned that I got best results when I poured the batter straight down in the middle and let it naturally run out to the edges.


By the second one I was leaving them under the broiler until they browned a bit, but were still slightly soft and could easily be folded. I guess I'll have to go to France and Italy and try authentic Farinata and Socca to see how my results would compare, but in the meantime I'll definitely be making them often at home.

Socca
(Makes about 3 thin flatbread pancakes, recipe adapted very slightly from The Sweet Life in Paris and Socca Enfin on David's blog.

Ingredients:
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup plus 2 T water
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground cumin (David used 1/8 tsp.)
1 1/2 T olive oil (plus more for brushing griddle and drizzling over finished Socca)

Instructions:
Whisk together the chickpea flour, water, cumin, and olive oil. Cover container and let rest for 2-3 hours at room temperature.

When ready to cook Socca, preheat broiler. (I have a gas broiler, so I'm not sure how the results would be different with an electric broiler.) When broiler is hot, brush cast iron griddle or frying pan with olive oil, heat under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, then remove from oven (use a mitt!) and pour on a thin layer of batter.

Cook Socca under the broiler until it has firmed and well-browned, especially on the edges. For me, this took 2-4 minutes under the broiler. Continue to make Socca pancakes like this, brushing the griddle with oil and heating it between each one.

Cut finished Socca into rough triangular pieces, sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Serve hot.



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South Beach Suggestions:
Since chickpeas are a low-glycemic food, this is a great as a snack or to serve on the side in place of bread for any phase of the South Beach Diet. Thank you to reader named Maria who pointed me to page 19 in The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook, where it says to avoid all flour for phase one. That means this dish would be reserved for phase 2 or 3. I apologize if anyone was misled by my mistake. I think Socca would make a great gluten-free replacement for pita bread and I can imagine serving it with Hummus, Falafel, or Tzatziki Sauce.

More Bloggers Make Farinata or Socca:
Farinata from Kalyn's Kitchen (too crisp, but very tasty!)
Socca Enfin from David Lebovitz
Farinata with Onions, Tomatoes, Olives, and Herbs from Lucullian Delights
Farinata from Over a Tuscan Stove
Farinata al Rosamarina from Lemonpi
Farinata . . . or is it Socca? from Blog From Our Kitchen
Farinata from Tofu for Two
The Joy of the Socca from Gluten Free Bay
Socca a Nice from Chez Pim
The Saga of Skillet Flatbread from Bitten
(Want even more Farinata recipes or Socca recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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84 comments:

Katie said...

This looks wonderful! I've just discovered that I probably have issues with gluten, so I'm excited whenever I find a nice bread-like substitute that doesn't involve 15 types of flours (I'm still intimidated by gluten-free substitutions). Can't wait to try it!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

This is great - I bought some chickpea flour the last time you posted a flatbread recipe - this looks even easier and worth a try.

Tee said...

Do you think that I can use chickpea and fava bean flour and get the same result? I made a mistake and bought a mixture instead of pure chickpea flour a few months back when I saw socca on David's blog :( Maybe I will just give it a try and see if it works out okay.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

One of my favorite episodes of The French Chef featured Julia Child watching socca being made at the market in (Nice? Marseilles?) -- it looked so good that I wanted to reach through the TV screen and grab it hot off the griddle. Yours looks just the same, so thanks to you and David L. I'll definitely be trying this.

Kalyn said...

Katie, this would be a great option for you.

TW, I bet you would love this. It may turn into my new "go to" appetizer when I have guests!

Tee, not sure how the flour with chickpeas and favas would work, but I'd guess it might be okay. Let me know if you try it; love to hear how it works.

Lydia, so tasty! I bet you'll love it like I did.

Monica said...

Any alternatives for the cast-iron skillet? Would a pie pan work or is that a horrible idea?

LisaBain said...

is there any reason you couldn't cook this on a regular griddle and flip it to brown the other side (rather than putting under the broiler)?

Ricki said...

I llove chickpea pancakes! They're a regular part of my menu since I discovered pudla or cheela, which both seem very much like socca!

Kalyn said...

Monica, in his post David says his friend in France uses a non-stick tart pan, but it looks like a heavy pan in the photo. I think any kind of heavy pan that can be pre-heated and go under the broiler would work, but I'm not sure about a thin pie pan. Let us know if you try it!

Kalyn said...

Lisa, sorry I missed your comment when I replied above. I'm not sure how that would work, but I think it might work if it was ultra hot. The pancake is pretty thin, but you could probably do it. Let us know how it works if you try it!

Paula Maack said...

Kalyn, thank you for this!! I have been wanting to make socca all week.

This looks marvelous! I can't wait to make it!

Cheers,

~ Paula

David said...

Looks great! Glad to see the gospel of socca is spreading : )

A note about pans: this is 'street' food so don't worry too much about the kind of pan you have. I've seen them made in banged up old pizza sheets, on blackened metal trays, and what-have-you. At home, however, unless you're cooking it in a fireplace, a cast-iron pan like Kalyn used, I find works best. But I've used everything from a non-stick skillet to a round cake pan, and all work well.

Kalyn said...

David, I'm definitely a convert. I am hoping come to France someday and try the real thing.

Thanks for the tips about pans. I was so excited to find this little cast iron griddle, which I'm finding is also great to make quesadillas.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That is a delicious and easy to make speciality which I cherish a lot! Your socca/farinata looks great!

Cheers,

Rosa

Kate @ Savour Fare said...

Fantastic! You've reminded me I want to make this. Having eaten socca in Nice, I would say that black pepper is definitely key - you don't want to skimp!

Maria said...

Never tried these before. I love chickpeas though, I am sure they are tasty. Great post!

SteamyKitchen said...

That's so healthy!!! I've never played with chickpea flour before.

Hey can't wait to meet ya!

thepassionatecook said...

this looks delicious... i still have some chickpea flour from an Indian evening left over, this seems like the perfect way to use it up! thanks for sharing...

Kalyn said...

Rosa, thanks. Good to know I'm doing it right.

Kate, I like the idea of adding some pepper to the batter.

Maria, I'm going to try making it on the grill! I think you'd love it.

Jaden, I want to try using it for more things. Can't wait to meet you too!

Joanna, I bet you'll like it. Not sure if the Indian chickpea flour is just the same, but I think it will work.

Andrea said...

I've had farinata but not socca, so I must try this. My family adores flatbreads so I'm sure it will be a hit at home.

judeoftheisland said...

Hi there. Looks fabulous as always. Not to put to fine a persnickety point on it, though, I'm pretty darn sure that beans/peas/seeds are not a Phase 1 item, especially in a flour form. Any other phase, to be sure, but not Phase 1.

Keep up the excellent work!

Kalyn said...

Andrea, not sure what the difference is (if any) but I loved this!

Judeoftheisland, Chickpeas (garbanzos) are listed as an approved food for phase one in every South Beach book, even the very earliest ones which were more restrictive. Actually all types of dried beans are approved for phase one.

cookiecrumb said...

Yay! It's so pretty, and like another of your commenters, I find I'm suddenly off gluten! Awk. So this is just great.

Hi, David.

Angela said...

Wow, I've never heard of this. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I'll definitely have to try this as a replacement for pita bread!

Allegra Smith said...

I thought you may find this interesting:

"Buenos Aires’ unique contribution to the pizza world is the faina, a pizza, or foccacia, made of chickpea flour, the crust baked and usually served unadorned or with a simple herb or onion topping, as an accompaniment to a standard pizza. Though faina clearly comes from Liguria, where it is sometimes called farinata, (and there are versions throughout the Mediterranean - Gibraltar’s "national dish" of calentita or Nice’s socca come to mind) - what makes it unusual is that here it is served as an adjunct to pizza - a "classic" porte├▒o lunch is a a slice or two of pizza and a slice of faina - which is often laid atop of a slice of pizza as a sort of top-crust, or eaten in alternating bites - and a glass of cheap Moscato."

© 2006 Dan Perlman

Ninette said...

I didn't now about socca or farinata, but I was making exactly these when I wason a gluten-free diet, just mixing the chickpea flour with water and seasonings. I just cooked it in a non-stick skillet, flipped it over and cooked the other side. Worked great. I used to eat these for breakfast with agave syrup since I couldn't have any bread products, sugar, dairy, eggs. It was slim pickins, but the chickpea pancake was a nice break from the rice cakes and quinoa.

Cookin' Canuck said...

Fabulous recipe, Kalyn! I have some leftover chickpea flour from making vegetable pakoras (Indian fritters) and was trying to decide what to make with it. Now I know!

Tea said...

Yum, aren't they good? I love your griddle; what a score!

miss petite america said...

O! M! G! was this send from the gods?!

i just found your blog and am eternally grateful. these recipes look amazing! i'll definitely be linking to your blog from mine once i finally try some of these.

Kalyn said...

CC, thanks but sorry to hear about the gluten issues. Not necessarily easy, but worth avoiding if it makes you feel better!

Angela, I think it's a great pita substitute. Also very good eaten alone.

Allegra, I just heard about that today from Dan on Twitter. Hadn't heard of faina before, and love the way it's served as an accompaniment to pizza.

Ninette, good to know that it can be flipped and cooked on the other side. I didn't do that, since mine was cooking on both sides from the hot griddle and the broiler.

Dara, let me know how the Indian chickpea flour works, I'd be interested.

Tea, thanks, and I'm loving that griddle. Agreed, I was so happy when I saw it!

MPA, glad you like the blog, thanks!

Kalyn said...

I just noticed that there are some SB dieters at the Kalyn's Kitchen Facebook page who also say that chickpea flour isn't allowed in phase one, so I may be wrong about that (although I haven't seen that anywhere.) If anyone has seen that in print or online, please send me the link or citation for it. Thanks!

SandraLira, Sculptor said...

Hi Kalyn,

This looks wonderful. If you like extra texture could you grind up dried chick peas to make the flour?

Kalyn said...

Sandra, I don't really know, but I'd guess that you could. If anyone else knows, please chime in!

Sophie said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely & tasty looking chickpea flat bread!

Maris said...

I love chick peas but I've never used chickpea flour. These would be nice as an appetizer for a Mediterranean style meal!

ValerieAnne said...

It looks wonderful. I wonder how many carbs are in that?

Jen H said...

Starting South Beach on Monday and love that I have a pseudo carb I can make to keep the boyfriend happy!

kitchenwizard said...

Hi Kalyn!
I love socca! I found it tastes better with a lot of freshly ground peppers and olive oil!
Thanks for the idea to use the broiler. That should make the top crispier than stove top method which I normally do. This reminds me of The one we had in Nice with famous Socca lady -- they were cooked in the pan that's about 3 ft in diameter!

Ruth Daniels said...

Now I really have to give it a try. Hopefully it will work in my regular stainless steel pan...the only cast iron pan I have is for mini- griddles.

I think I might experiment with my griddler. let you know how that goes. ;-)

Susan said...

That first photo is just glowing, Kalyn. I know you weren't happy with your shots early on, but I must say they have been evolving nicely.

Nice, too, this socca. I'm hard pressed to pick my favorite legume, but the chickpea would probably be it.

Anonymous said...

I was dying to hear some opinions re: what others thought of the chickpea flat bread, but of all the many comments not one person has tried it. They all stated "looks great... can't wait... going to do it..., etc." Has anyone made it? I confess I'm a bit reluctant because it may not hold together and be too dry - like falafel recipes I've tried. Comments?

tobias cooks! said...

I never knew there was a chickpea flour. great input. thanks.

Joann B. said...

I didn't have any Chickpea flour, but I do have a flour grinder! I took a 1 lb. bag of garbanzo beans, sent them through the blender ((beware: this is VERY loud. Garbanzo beans are HARD)), and then sent the cracked beans through the grinder. It made PERFECT flour, and the Socca is absolutely YUMMY!! This recipe is awesome -- I've been really wanting bread, and I'm loving this. I'm eating it with olive oil and pepper -- and YUM! Can't wait to try it with a yummy filling! Thanks!! It has a very mild Garbanzo/hummus taste -- I wonder how it would be with a bit of garlic in the batter? Mmmmm...

Kalyn said...

Sorry if I'm not managing to respond to every person, but I have two small boys staying at my house and they're wearing me out!

I don't count carbs, so I have no idea what the carb count would be in these, but for South Beach, this would be considered a "good carb."

Fun hearing from people who have had them in France.

Susan, I think the new studio is improving my photos a lot (better light!) Being retired might help too!

Anonymous, re: no one trying it, what about David Lebovitz and myself who both said we loved the recipe?

Joann, fun experiment grind your own chickpea flour, thanks for sharing! So glad you liked it. As I said, I loved this myself!

emily said...

Kalyn, after seeing David tweet about you making this yesterday, I made it right away. (One of your posts a while ago about chickpea flour had me picking up a small bit of it at a local bulk place.)

My oven's broiler is disabled, so at 550, mine took forever to cook. But, theeen, I noticed it made three in your recipe? I poured the entire batter into my large skillet. Next time, should I work it more like a crepe and thus split it up into thirds? I bet that would help with cooking time and actually browning...?

But thanks for making this! I would have never heard of it if you hadn't made a version of it!

Kalyn said...

Emily I think I made the farinata too thick when I tried it the first time too, but this should definitely be thin, just enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Obviously this is an idea who's time has come. I just bought the same bag of chickpea flour with just this recipe in mind. Now it looks like I'm not going to get to it for several weeks. So happy to know it's going to be good.

Kalyn said...

Tanna, who was it that said "Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come?"

You're going to love it!

jasmine said...

These look delicious--and I'm all in favour of increasing the cumin. I'm a fan of flatbreads, regardless of the type of flour used--I can easily see serving this with Med-inspired grilled chicken or lamb

j

Kalyn said...

Hi Jasmine,
Next time I might use even more cumin! I think some herbs would taste great in this too, even if it's not traditional.

ejm said...

What a wonderful little cast iron pan! We too can't believe how wonderful it is! We adore it with fresh rosemary. But this winter, when we daren't disturb our rosemary plant, we must try it with cumin!

-Elizabeth

Kalyn said...

Elizabeth, I loved it with the cumin!

**Maria ** said...

Hello! In response to your question about chickpea flower being 'allowed' in Phase 1 - on page 19 of the The South Beach Diet Quick & Easy cookbook it says to avoid ALL flour in Phase 1. Hope this helps.

Kalyn said...

Maria, thanks so much for that. I had looked online but didn't find anything specifically saying chickpea flour. Will edit the post.

~M said...

Hi Kalyn,

Happy New Year! Do you think this would work using freshly made chickpeas (ie, soaked and cooked chickpeas) instead of chickpea flour? I just cooked a bagful and ended up with way more than I intended. Also, if you could figure out a way to use freshly cooked chickpeas, that would make socca phase 1 friendly, right? :) Thanks!

Kalyn said...

~M, I think what you'd end up with if you used freshly cooked chickpeas would be much different than this, more like a chickpea cake (where this is a thin crepe.) As far as being more phase one friendly, the guidelines in the newest book says for beans and legumes to start with 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving size for phase one. Of you made something using only that amount per serving, it should be okay.

Jean, Victoria, Australia said...

I first saw this recipe online in a news piece from the NYT and thought it was great. It was being made in a wood-fired oven, which I'm sure would add a depth of delicious smokiness to it. I make it in a conventional oven, on a pizza pan, and my old recipe adds the fresh, roughly ground black pepper at the mixing stage, and salt after serving (to taste - we don't do salt a lot here in Oz!). Other tip - add chopped fresh rosemary at the same time as the pepper, and finely chop a small onion and fry off lightly with a little butter or olive oil, and add it to the mix just before cooking. Yum!!

Jean, Victoria, Australia said...

Woops. Jean again. Meant to say that I can't use cumin, so don't include it in my recipe. Otherwise - with the aforementioned addition of cracked black pepper - we use the same ingredients. Other people may know this as 'Besan' flour, by the way.
Happy gluten-free cooking from 'Down-under'.

Kalyn said...

Jean, your variations sound great!

Cologner said...

Our intention was to follow the recipe - with the suggestion to add ground black pepper, rosemary and onions - till we found a bottle of basil olive oil in the kitchen and used instead of normal olive oil...
That came out great! Gie it a try.

Kalyn said...

Cologner, love the idea of basil olive oil with this! Thanks for sharing the idea.

Anonymous said...

These are great. Made them for the first time. I'm gluten free and have tried every bread out there. My husband says it's the best "bread" he's ever had. We ate our with chicken chili.

Kalyn said...

So glad to hear you liked it! It is a great gluten-free bread option.

Shane said...

Kaylyn, I've yet to make one of your recipes that hasn't thrilled my palate. This wonderful flatbread is in heavy rotation here, both as written (with 1/4 tsp cumin) & as a spicy Indian-style variation (1/4 tsp each of cumin, Hot Madras Curry Powder, & Penzey's Garam Masala, plus 1/8 tsp of Cayenne Powder).

Your blog & recipes have improved my life so much in 2010. I've now lost 50lbs since August, *while discovering a love for cooking.* What a gift! Thank you so very much for sharing your talent & insights here. Best wishes for a happy, blessed 2011!
Shane. <---- Kalyn Kitchen fan for life

Kalyn said...

Shane, what a great comment to wake up to on Monday morning! Congratulations on your success, and I love hearing that my blog has influenced your life so much. Love the sound of your variation for this recipe too!

Stefania (Ingredients for Life) said...

I tried your recipe but made smaller soccas.They are delightful and were devoured.

Kalyn said...

Stefania, so glad to hear you enjoyed the Socca.

mishel.1971 said...

The only ingredient listed on the bag of chickpea flour I bought is chickpeas. Chickpeas are allowed in phase 1, so what is the difference if they are pre-ground or whole when you put them in your mouth? I personally think chickpea "flour" qualifies for a phase 1 food unless someone can actually explain a reason for why it would not other than it is called "flour".

Kalyn said...

I don't make up the rules; I'm just reporting what the SBD book said. I'm guessing he restriction on flour is because the serving size for dried beans is 1/3 - 1/2 cup, and if you use the flour to make baked things you'd probably eat more than that.

Samantha said...

How ironic that I just came across this post regarding chickpea flour.
I was under the assumption that it would be allowed, however serving size may be the issue. I'll have to wait till phase 2... sigh...

Kalyn said...

I definitely thought this type of flour would be phase one myself, but a reader pointed me to one of the SBD cookbooks which clearly said no flours at all in phase one.

Christine said...

Found it! Had to type in 'socca recipe' instead of just socca. Great post! Am I behind the eight ball or what? :)

janewilloughby said...

I'm eating some now, but it doesn't look as good as yours! That griddle is a traditional Indian tawah - or tawa - for cooking roti. V. useful to have in the kitchen for more than just roti (though, roti is the MOST delicious;), so well done!

Kalyn said...

Jane, glad you like it. I love that grill but never knew what it was called.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interesting read. I just found Socca in a Rick Steve's travelogue of the French Riveria. As anyone tried making it with other than garbanzo flour? I don't eat gluten and I am limited when it comes to garbanzos as well... and some of the non-wheat baking subs with all the gums don't do well either.

Has anyone tried teff?
Thanks.
PT

Kalyn said...

PT, I would love to go to France and try the real thing! I haven't tried making it, but I know there is a type of thin flatbread from Ethiopia called Injera and it's made with teff flour so it might work for this (or maybe try part chickpea and part teff.) If you try it would love to hear how it works.

Cucee Sprouts said...

I made David's recipe as well and loved how healthy and delicious (and EASY) this bread is. Here is a link to my slightly modified recipe (and pictures.) http://cuceesprouts.com/2011/08/socca-bread/

yogadujour said...

Yum, I just made these on the stove top with a small skillet. I added grated garlic to the recipe. Didn't even let the batter rest. Flipped after about 1 minute and viola, beautiful and delicious! thanks for the recipe :)

Kalyn said...

Good to know it will still work without letting the batter rest, thanks!

My Thoughts Exactly said...

These are delicious! We are grain free and we use them as a substitute for sandwich bread, pancakes, tortillas (make them thinner), tamales (make them thicker), pita bread, and pizza crust.

I just cover the bottom of a 9" non-stick frying pan with a thin layer of batter, wait for it to set (bubbles in middle), and flip. I skip the broiler. They come out perfect!

P.S. I make a month's supply at a time, then pop them in the oven or toaster (depending on size) to reheat. Yum!

Kalyn said...

So glad you've been enjoying the recipe, and thanks for the tip about cooking just with the stove-top!

Camille said...

You're actually supposed to cook socca in the oven. A wood stove is the best option, and you're supposed to use a big round copper plate, but obviously, people don't generally have all that in lying around, so a traditional oven would do the trick. Tons of pepper, a bit of olive oil, no cumin and you've got the perfect socca !

Camille said...

Oh, and it's only found on the south east coastline of France.

Kalyn Denny said...

Camille, I must come there and try it someday!

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