Socca - Chickpea Flatbread

Socca is a traditional food from Nice, France and had its start as a street vendor specialty.  Now it is available all over the city in restaurants, bistros and cafes.  Since chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are naturally gluten-free, so is this recipe.

Chickpeas are legumes with a delicious nutty flavor and a buttery texture.  They are also quite starchy and rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.  Chickpeas are a good source of protein and an excellent source of manganese, folate and iron.

There are many different ways of making socca.  But basically, it requires equal parts chickpea flour and water, mixed with some olive oil, salt, pepper and optional herbs/spices. It can be cooked on the stove, in the oven or under a broiler.  I prefer the stove top method and occasionally run it under the broiler to blister the top once it’s cooked through. 

Socca is best served warm with butter, goat cheese, or your favorite pates and spreads.  I enjoy it most with eggplant caviar.  It can also be used as a pizza crust. The possibilities are endless!  This recipe is adapted from the Paris to Provence book.

Instead of using prepared chickpea flour I used dry chickpeas, soaked them overnight and then blended with water to make a batter.

1 cup soaked chickpea
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Dash or two of ground cumin
Coconut oil or butter for frying

Place soaked chickpeas, water, and sea salt into blender.  If you have a high power blender, this is the time to use it.  You might have to run a couple of cycles to get it nice and smooth.  Cover and refrigerate overnight. 

Before cooking, bring batter to room temperature and whisk in the oil, black pepper and cumin.  Melt about 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a frying pan over medium high heat (a well-seasoned cast iron pan works really well). Stir the batter well. 

When the oil is hot, pour a thin layer of the batter into the pan and cook until the edges brown and curl slightly, about 2 minutes.  Flip and cook the other side, another 2 minutes. Repeat until the batter is gone, adding more oil to the pan as needed. This recipe makes about 5 crepes.