Whether it's called socca, farinata or torta de ceci, this street food from Italy's Ligurian Sea coast tastes like a dream. Reminiscent of a savory pancake or cracker, it is an excellent substitute for bread or other starches at a meal and, topped with a little olive oil or butter, is even great as a snack. The blend of fiber, protein and healthful fats is quite satisfying.
If you haven't jumped on the socca bandwagon, there's no better time than summer!
Break out the Besan
The recipe is simple — really simple. You really only need chickpea flour, water and salt. I recommend keeping the flavor combinations fresh and minimal to let the chickpea flour be the star.
If you don't have chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo bean flour, gram flour or besan), I'll wait here for you to go buy some. No joke. There are no substitutions in this recipe. I prefer to let the batter sit for a couple hours before baking, but if you don't have the time to wait I'm sure it will turn out great regardless. Just make sure that you whisk the flour well so there aren't any clumps.
Being street food, this clearly did not originate in an oven, but as you can see this recipe is so obliging that it works splendidly in a hot oven finished with a quick broil. You can use a cast iron pan, a nonstick tart pan or, really, any other metal baking pan.
Summer Socca with Asparagus and Chives
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 2 to 4 asparagus stalks, sliced in thin rounds
- Whisk together the chickpea flour, water, oil and salt until no clumps remain. Cover and set aside to rest for 2 hours or so.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place your metal pan of choice in the oven while it heats up.
- Add the chives and asparagus (or variations, if using) to the batter and give it a quick stir.
- Remove the heated pan from the oven and grease it with additional oil or cooking spray. Add the batter to the pan and return to the oven for 15 minutes.
- Turn your oven to broil. Watching closely to ensure it doesn't burn, broil the socca just a few minutes for a delightfully crispy top.
- Remove the socca with a spatula, cut in 8 slices, and serve with additional olive oil.
- With sweet corn, sugar snap peas and shallots all plentiful at farmers markets, there are lots of alternatives if asparagus is no longer in season.
- I added some freshly cut chives from our garden, but use what you have. Or don't use any at all. "Plain" socca doesn't taste plain at all. It's rich (though it's cheap), buttery (I can't believe it's not) and complex (but it's so easy)!