Wednesday 9 November 2011

Chilli and Rosemary Socca

I introduce you to my new beer snack of choice - socca. We are loving this at the moment, I have been whipping up a plate of these almost every evening lately to have with an ice cold ale as they go perfectly together. No boring nuts or pretzels for us, puh-lease!

So what is socca? I'm sure most of you are asking as such, it's something that's only come into my radar recently, having seen it in a cookbook and a take on this version in the October issue of Irish Food and Wine magazine. Apparently it's French street food, particularly from Nice and despite variations it's basic ingredients are chickpea flour and olive oil. It's like a soft, thin pancake and I've seen images of it thinner than this and thicker, so do what you like. It's also traditionally served warm with lots of black pepper and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Wikipedia has a nice entry on it, just scroll down to France for the socca version.

I've changed the way I cook mine a few times now and am pleased with this version. Socca, by nature, sticks like mad to the pan. The impression I get in France is that they use very well seasoned copper pans and a wood burning oven, techniques us average home cooks simply cannot recreate. So my primary concern was to get all that yummy socca off the pan and not worry so much about authenticity, after all, I've never even had socca before! So to combat that I now line a baking sheet with baking paper, pour the batter on, thin it out with a pallette knife then bake. The baking paper ensures that all the socca comes off and is so much less stressful. Is it traditional? Probably not, but then again, neither is being vegan and we're cool with that, right? :-)

Chilli and Rosemary Socca - serves 2 as a light snack

100g chickpea flour - also called gram flour, garbanzo bean flour or besan
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp finely ground smoked sea salt, or plain sea salt*
1/8 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
150ml hot water
more olive oil to serve
finely ground black pepper to serve

*a note on the salt, I use smoked sea salt flakes then grind them up in a mortar and pestle until fine. You can just use regular sea salt but if you use table salt I would suggest reducing this to 3/4 tsp. As the hand ground salt does not get as fine as table salt less would end up in the measuring spoon and a full tsp of table salt would probably be too much.*

Preheat the oven to 190C fan. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper. In a mixing bowl sift in the chickpea flour and add the salt, rosemary and chilli flakes. Whisk together. In a pyrex measuring dish measure out the hot water, just boiling, and add the olive oil. Give it a stir then add to the flour and whisk until smooth and slightly thick. Just a warning here, it won't smell nice here, nor will it taste nice, but I assure you it bakes up completely differently than it smells and tastes at this stage - trust me!

Scrape this onto the middle of your prepared sheet with a rubber spatula:

Now spread this out slightly with a pallette knife. I have cooked this thicker than this and enjoyed it both ways, just find the thickness you like and go with it.

Now pop it into the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes. It will be firm to the touch and just starting to crack on top, the edges might just start to brown slightly too, although the socca itself is soft.

Now simply slice into rough and rustic shards, drizzle with a good portion of extra virgin olive oil and lots of either finely ground black pepper, or pepper from a shaker. You want the pepper fine here, not coarse. Serve warm, preferable with a very fine beer/ale - Duvel my personal favourite ;-)


  1. looks delicious, is it too early to fancy a beer ;)

  2. Can I be your best friend? We'd only be separated by a measly ocean.

    These look too good and I love beer.

  3. haha, of course Crystal! Thanks for the comments and yay for beer lovers!!

  4. Yay indeed...

    Looks and sounds delicious!

  5. Riiiiight....I used the recipe for a socca from Vegan Eat World. Trying to make them in the cast iron pan was a disaster. I just ended up making them on the stove.

  6. I would recommend this, too:

  7. This is an italian recipe called Farinata! its true that they make it in France, but it originally comes from Genoa. the recipe i have used when i made it used a different proportion of water and chickpea flour; 1 part flour to 3 parts water. there is also more olive oil. i have made it a few times, and the best result by far was when the farinata 'batter' had been prepared the day before cooking. also, as it is quite liquid, there is no need to spread the batter, you just pour it into a lined tin. next time i make it i want to try sprinkling some chopped onion on top before baking :D

    1. Ah, very interesting, thank you! I had no idea it was also Italian....some chopped onion added does sound wonderful :-)

  8. I just found this blog and I love it so much! Beautiful presentation and layout

    1. by the way I just made this now... mmm I measure in cups and admittedly 100g flour is less than 1 cup of flour but I put one cup and for the ratio of olive oil in and water it was WAY too much flour... well it didnt look like the photo of your recipe at all, not shiny and liquidy. it was rather pasty, kind of what polenta reminds me of before it bakes. any recommendations?

    2. Hmmm, just to clarify, when you increased the amount of flour in the recipe did you also increase the amount of liquid? As obviously that would be the problem there :-) If you did increase the liquid as well then I’m not sure what went wrong, maybe just a ratio miscalculation? 100g of gram flour would be *about* ¾ cup of gram flour (ever so slightly heaped and not packed down in any way). Must admit, this is one reason I prefer weights over cups – you get much more accurate and consistent measurements :-) The only other thing I can think of is if your gram flour is a different consistency to mine? I imagine they are all the same but you never know, mine is very finely milled and powdery...just a thought.

  9. Hi Debbie! I'm so glad I found your blog! It's a kind of a relief as finding vegan delicious recipes gets pretty tough sometimes... I'm a beer lover, too. So I guess Yay! Hugs from Argentina.

    1. Hi Maria! So glad you found the blog too :-) And more yay's for beer lovers, haha!



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