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.



Printer Friendly Recipe


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.)

counter customizable free hit

84 comments:

  1. 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!

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

    ReplyDelete
  3. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  5. 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.

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

    ReplyDelete
  7. 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)?

    ReplyDelete
  8. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  9. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  10. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  11. 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

    ReplyDelete
  12. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  13. 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.

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

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  15. 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!

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

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

    Hey can't wait to meet ya!

    ReplyDelete
  18. 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...

    ReplyDelete
  19. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  20. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  21. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  22. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  23. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  24. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  25. 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" porteño 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

    ReplyDelete
  26. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  27. 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!

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

    ReplyDelete
  29. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  30. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  31. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Kalyn,

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

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

    ReplyDelete
  34. Lovely, lovely, lovely & tasty looking chickpea flat bread!

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

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

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

    ReplyDelete
  38. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  39. 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. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  40. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  41. 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?

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

    ReplyDelete
  43. 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...

    ReplyDelete
  44. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  45. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  46. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  47. 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.

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

    You're going to love it!

    ReplyDelete
  49. 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

    ReplyDelete
  50. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  51. 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

    ReplyDelete
  52. Elizabeth, I loved it with the cumin!

    ReplyDelete
  53. 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.

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

    ReplyDelete
  55. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  56. ~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.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Jean, Victoria, AustraliaAugust 24, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    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!!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Jean, Victoria, AustraliaAugust 24, 2010 at 10:14 PM

    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'.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Jean, your variations sound great!

    ReplyDelete
  60. 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.

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

    ReplyDelete
  62. 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.

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

    ReplyDelete
  64. 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

    ReplyDelete
  65. 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!

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

    ReplyDelete
  67. Stefania, so glad to hear you enjoyed the Socca.

    ReplyDelete
  68. 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".

    ReplyDelete
  69. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  70. 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...

    ReplyDelete
  71. 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.

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

    ReplyDelete
  73. 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!

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

    ReplyDelete
  75. 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

    ReplyDelete
  76. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  77. 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/

    ReplyDelete
  78. 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 :)

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

    ReplyDelete
  80. 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!

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

    ReplyDelete
  82. 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 !

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

    ReplyDelete
  84. Camille, I must come there and try it someday!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for joining the conversation! I love hearing from readers and even though I can't always reply to every comment, I will always answer specific questions on a recipe as soon as possible. Sometimes I'm answering by iPhone, so my replies may be short!

Comments don't appear on the blog until they're approved by me, so no need to try again if you don't see it! Feel free make your signature a link to your site if you're a blogger, but links posted within the body of the comment will never be published.

Blogging tips