My first taste of Socca was in Nice, where the golden triangles are sold at markets and out of stalls on nearly every corner – it’s practically the city’s official snack! A friend and I ate it up within seconds, marveling over the texture and taste, and wondering how to make it at home. Thanks to Denise’s recipe, I can stop wondering and start eating! -Amy
I can remember the first time I ate Socca as if it was yesterday. It was damp and a bit chilly for a June afternoon; we were hungry and wandering aimlessly (which we often do in Paris). The small restaurant, tucked away in a passageway of the Marais district, was dimly lit and smelled of warm cardamom and cinnamon. Even though it was nearly empty, the staff’s warm smiles guided us to a table.
The menu featured an assortment of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes that immediately drew us in. However before we could order anything our waiter placed a plate of freshly baked Socca on the table. The Socca was still warm and served with an assortment of cheeses, olives, and spicy harissa. It was the perfect way to begin our journey.
What is Socca? It is a crepe-like bread or a bread-like crepe, depending on who you ask. Socca has many names, as it is popular along the Mediterranean, in the Middle East, and in North Africa. The one thing the recipe has in common, no matter what language it is in, is that it is made with chickpea flour, water, and olive oil, and then baked in a very hot oven. What varies are the seasonings and how it is served. In Paris, as well as in the South of France (especially around Nice), where this delight is called Socca, it is generously seasoned with black pepper and eaten with one’s fingers.
I adore this recipe for so many reasons, but the main one is that it is such a unique food gift – and versatile, too! I have given it as a hostess gift as well as to a sick friend. I simply mix the dry ingredients together in a pretty jar and attach the recipe with a piece of ribbon; it always puts a smile on the receiver’s face. I often include some cheese, a bottle of Rosé (a must with Socca), and a couple of condiments like harissa and jam.
Another thing I adore about this recipe is the warmth and smokiness of the baked Socca. I use ground cumin and smoked paprika (traditional Socca spices) to season the chickpea flour – the result is positively dreamy. Be generous with a rich olive oil, as it adds even more depth. I prefer my Socca served with creamy brie and fig jam.
I hope you enjoy a little piece of my France!
Inspired by David Lebovitz ** I make a batch of it to give as a gift or to have on hand for quick lunches or appetizers.
Inspired by David Lebovitz
** I make a batch of it to give as a gift or to have on hand for quick lunches or appetizers.
- 2 cups chickpea flour
- 1 teaspoon maldon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup socca mix (recipe above)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
- Place into a small glass container, fit with the lid and shake to combine.
- If you are giving as a gift, add a ribbon and a recipe card with the following instructions.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the socca mix, cold water, and olive oil. Whisk until smooth.
- Preheat the broiler in your oven. Coat a 9-inch oven-safe pan (I use a cast-iron crepe pan) with olive oil, being sure to get the sides.
- Place the pan in the oven and heat until very hot, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven using pot-holders (the pan will be very hot!), and pour enough of the batter into the pan to cover the bottom. Swirl it around, then place back into the oven.
- Bake until the socca is firm and blistering, checking every 2 minutes. The sides will start to become very golden and crisp. It took 5 minutes in my oven, but yours make take less or more time.
- Use a wide spatula to remove the socca from the pan and place on a cutting board. If it sticks in the pan then you need to add a little more olive oil to the next batch.
- Slice into pieces, sprinkle with a little maldon salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Repeat the process until you use all the batter and serve with an assortment of French cheeses, fig jam, or even a small salad. Makes a lovely appetizer or even a light meal.
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