Have you ever tried socca? This gluten-free chickpea flatbread hails from Nice, France, and it makes a delicious appetizer, side dish, or light meal.
When Jack and I visited Nice, France, I ate two things as much as I could: Niçoise salad and socca. If you’re not familiar with socca, it’s a savory chickpea pancake with crisp, golden brown edges and a moist interior. It’s popular throughout southern France and northern Italy, and once you try it, you’ll see why. Chickpea flour and olive oil give it a rich, nutty flavor, and its crispy edges are so tasty that you won’t be able to help reaching for a second slice.
Served plain, it makes a delicious appetizer, side dish, or snack, but with the right toppings, this easy socca recipe can pass as a main dish too. At this time of year, I love to pile it with a flavorful sauce, fresh herbs, and veggies and call it dinner.
Socca Recipe Ingredients
You only need 4 ingredients to make this simple socca recipe:
- Chickpea flour – This grain-free flour is made from finely ground dried chickpeas. Also called garbanzo bean flour or besan, it’s easy to find online, but many regular grocery stores carry it too. Look for it in the gluten-free section or baking aisle of your store!
- Water – It mixes with the chickpea flour to create a pancake-like batter.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – It adds richness and depth of flavor.
- Sea salt – It gives the socca a yummy savory flavor and highlights the chickpeas’ earthy, nutty taste.
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
When you’re ready to cook, whisk together the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and salt.
The socca batter should be smooth, so whisk until there aren’t any lumps. Then, set it aside to soak for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 475 with a 10-inch cast-iron pan inside it.
When the batter’s ready, remove the pan from the oven (careful, it’ll be hot!), and brush it with 3/4 tablespoons of oil. Pour in the batter, and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until the socca is well-browned and crisp around the edges.
Allow the socca to cool slightly before you use a spatula to remove it from the skillet. Then, dig in while it’s still hot!
Socca Recipe Tips
- Don’t forget to preheat the pan. It’s essential that your skillet is hot when you add the socca batter, so put your pan in the oven as soon as you turn it on. If your skillet is too cool, the socca will stick to it, and the edges and bottom won’t crisp up as they bake.
- Don’t cut the soaking time short. Chickpea flour takes longer to hydrate than wheat flour does, so giving the batter time to soak is crucial for making a moist, cohesive flatbread. Let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours before you cook it.
- Eat it right away. Socca is best hot from the oven, when the edges are still nice and crisp. If you have leftovers, store them at room temperature for up to 2 days, or freeze them for longer storage. Reheat them on a baking sheet in a 400-degree oven until the edges become crisp again.
The rich, crispy socca is fantastic plain, but it’s even better with toppings or dips. Have fun experimenting with different ways to dress it up! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Top it with a drizzle of olive oil and za’atar for an easy, flavorful appetizer.
- Shower it with grated Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Slather it with labneh, hummus, baba ganoush, or tzatziki.
- Drizzle it with green goddess dressing, tahini sauce, pesto, or vegan pesto. Then, layer on thinly sliced beets or radishes and fresh herbs to make a light, refreshing meal or snack. Pickled red onions would be great here too.
- Use it as a gluten-free alternative to regular pizza crust. Top it with your favorite fixings, or make a socca pizza recipe! I love this Falafel Flatbread and the Spring-On-A-Plate Socca Flatbread on page 153 of Love and Lemons Every Day.
Serve this socca recipe as an appetizer for pasta, polenta, or your favorite protein, or make it the main event! It’d be delicious with my Greek salad, Caprese salad, strawberry salad, or grilled vegetables on the side.
How do you like to eat socca? Let me know in the comments!
- Preheat the oven to 475°F with a 10-inch cast-iron skillet inside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the chickpea flour, water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and whisk until smooth. Cover and set aside to soak for 30 minutes.
- Using a potholder, remove the preheated skillet from the oven and add the remaining ¾ tablespoon olive oil, brushing to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until the socca is well-browned and crisp around the edges. Do not underbake - the crispier the better. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and then use a spatula to loosen and transfer the socca from the skillet to a serving plate.
- Enjoy as a flatbread served with suggested spices, herbs, dips and/or toppings listed in the post above.