The French call it socca. In Italy, depending on where you are, it’s cecina or farinata. Argentines know it as faina. What is this global superstar?
An incredibly simple blend of chickpea flour, olive oil, salt, and water, baked at high heat. Some versions add in a little rosemary, red pepper, or cumin, or a generous shake of black pepper. But at its heart, socca is simply a chickpea cake. It’s mysteriously eggy, light, and chewy. It’s also gluten-free and a good source of protein, so it can be served as a main dish and still have the appeal of a bready, substantial carb.I’ve been playing around with a few variations, but this is my first batch pictured. Depending on your preference, you can make it thicker and more cake-like, or thinner and more like a flatbread or cracker.It’s also important to let it sit for just a moment after it comes out of the oven. My first bites left me disappointed; 10 minutes later, I was happily digging in for another round, topped with chunky marinara sauce.
But it wasn’t until breakfast the next morning that I really became obsessed. I took a slice of socca, microwaved until just warm, then topped it with jam. Enjoyed with coffee, it’s one of the best breakfasts I’ve had all year.
After I made socca a few times, I started researching it more online. makes his thin, like a pancake, and adds a hint of cumin to replicate the traditional wood-fired aroma. At , uses hers as a base for avocado and mixed green pizza. They both recommend making the batter a few hours ahead of time and letting it sit before cooking; David for culinary reasons and Sarah for health (digestibility) reasons. I haven’t actually planned ahead enough yet to try it, but it’s worth trying if you think of it.
I’d love to hear what you come up with. As for toppings, think of it as pizza, bread, or polenta—anything goes!
2 cups chickpea flour (usually found with other flours; also called garbanzo bean flour)
1 tsp. salt
2 to 3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cups water
Any seasonings (cumin, etc.) you’d like, about 1/4 tsp.
1. Preheat the oven to 500°. Grease a pan—either an 8-inch pie pan, or an 8 x 12-inch cake pan, or even a little bigger if you’d like it thin and crispy. Place the pan in the oven to preheat while you whisk together all of the ingredients.
2. Pour mixture into the pan—it will look a little runny. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, then turn off oven and let it sit for another 10 minutes or so, until a fork inserted in the socca comes out mostly clean. Let sit at room temperature for just a few moments, then cut into pieces and serve with a sauce, jam, butter, etc. (It would be grand with this lemon-tahini sauce.)
That’s it! Now shall we all head on over to the south of France?