ffwd: socca from vieux nice

Socca topped with tapenade and goat cheese

I’ve never been to Nice, or the South of France, for that matter, so I had no point of comparison for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe: Socca, which is a chickpea pancake. In France, this street food made by vendors stationed on the sidewalk. At my house, we had it as a starter to dinner.

This recipe introduced me to a new ingredient, chickpea (also called garbanzo) flour which is ground up chickpeas. It has a vegetal aroma quite different from wheat flour. The batter is simple to mix up: garbanzo flour, water, olive oil, chopped rosemary, salt and pepper. This is done in advance so the batter can rest. Dorie says that improves the end result.

Just a Few Ingredients

The preparation was interesting. The pancake bakes in a very hot oven. The pan preheats at the same time. Once everything is hot, you pour oil into the pan and return it to the oven to heat up before pouring in the batter. It’s essentially oven-fried, though finished under the broiler to blacken the surface slightly.

It was a little challenging to transfer to a serving plate

It was a little challenging to transfer to a serving plate

To eat, we tore the piping hot pancake into pieces and smeared them with tapenade and goat cheese. It was tasty, though unusual. I cooked half the batter to make one medium pancake to try tonight and plan to cook the other half with tomorrow’s lunch.

I still have the rest of the bag of chickpea flour leftover, so I will probably try this again. I’m less sure about it plain, but I have lots of Mediterranean condiments to experiment with for toppings.

I was also intrigued by the falafel recipe that came on the bag. I love falafel but I’ve always been put off making them at home because I am uncomfortable deep-frying. The recipe on the bag of flour only calls for a few tablespoons of oil to cook them, so I might be trying that out. Any other suggestions?

We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To see what other Doristas thought of socca, check out their posts here.

Voila, Socca!

Voila, Socca!

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Posted on 28 June 2013, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Betsy, this reminds me of Korean mung bean pancakes (bin dae duk). In the Korean version, you grind softened mung beans in a blender and then mix vegetables (washed kim chee is the best) and meat with the batter and then fry it. What you use for the vegetables and meat varies by cook. I like the idea of the “frying” it in the oven so I’ll see how that works. I will try the socca recipe also and let you know how it goes. I love finding new vegan-type recipes!

  2. I don’t deep fry often either – there is no way that the combination of me and hot oil can go well. (When I make fried chicken once every couple of years, I make Joe do the actual moving of the chicken in and out of the oil…)
    I like the idea of tapenade and goat cheese.

    On another note, Runner Girl is in your neck of the woods this weekend visiting with her boyfriend’s grandparents. She is going to a Red Sox game tonight – she threatened her boyfriend that she was going to wear her Yankees hat… You can take the girl out of Yankee territory but you can’t take the Yankee out of the girl.

  3. Betsy, now the addition of tapenade and goat cheese sounds awfully delicious to me and your Socca looks wonderful. Good idea to divide the recipe in two and be preparing half of it for next day´s lunch. I agree that the Socca was not easy to remove from the very hot pan but a bit of tearing made it look all the more authentic. With respect to other recipes for the chickpea flour, I had never used it before either so unfortunately, I do not have any helpful suggestions.
    Have a lovely weekend dear friend!
    P.S.: Nice that you found the spelt flour and even nicer that you let me know about it – maybe you want to try it with some buttery cake or cookies first – it adds a wonderful (slightly) nutty taste! If you would like to have a nice little recipe for a delicious Dutch butter cake (sort of like a shortbread like cake), let me know, I will mail it to you.

  4. Betsy, I love that you served this with tapenade and goat cheese….sounds luscious! Your finished socca looks perfect with the little blisters on it. We really enjoyed this one, but had no idea what to expect. Pleasantly surprised! Another new recipe from Dorie, that I would have never tried if not for this group! Hope your weekend is going well!

  5. Beautiful! You got the classic dark spots!!! And I love the idea of serving this with cheese and tapenade…yummy!!! Have a lovely weekend, my friend.

  6. This was new to me too, and I liked it.

  7. Hmm, seem to be having some comment issues. Either that or this is going to come through more than once. Sigh, I love technology. But I also love your idea to make falafel. I’ve always wanted to give that a try.

  8. teaandscones

    Ditto on the goat cheese. Socca was just the right foil for a herby goat cheese.

  9. Tapenade and goat cheese? That sounds wonderful. I had mine plain and found it to be quite dry. If I ever make it again, I’ll certainly try it with tapenade next time.

  10. I love the idea of this with tapenade and goat cheese :) Nicely done!

  11. Looks delicious especially the filling!

  12. I’d love to know what you end up doing with the rest of the chickpea flour. I don’t have any good ideas…

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