socca

October 30, 2010

Last spring my friend Emily and I went on a yoga retreat on the shore of Lake Simcoe. It seems like a decade ago now but I can still conjure up the feeling of sitting under a huge maple tree, overlooking the vast expanse of the lake, wind and sun soaking us with their warmth. A lovely young woman, whose name I now can’t remember, made all the food. Not only was it delicious but completely vegan. For afternoon tea she made socca. Something I had never heard of before. Turns out it’s a dish traditionally made by women in Nice overlooking the Mediterranean, which was apropos to the sun, wind, water, and comraderie of the retreat.

I read on a food blog that with socca “you ain’t re-creating the Mona Lisa: socca is meant to be in rough shards, eaten with your fingers, and is especially good after a long day on a sun-saturated beach when your skin is tingling with sand and you can lick your lips and taste the sand of the Mediterranean.” I get that, and would love to be there, but it’s also especially good after a errand-packed Saturday on a cold, fall day with Tagine and Roasted Spicy Sweet Potato.

1 cup (130g) chickpea flour

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (280ml) water

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

freshly-ground black pepper, plus additional sea salt and olive oil for serving

1. Mix together the flour, water, salt, cumin, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Let batter rest at least 2 hours, covered, at

room temperature.

2. To cook, heat the broiler in your oven. Oil a 9- or 10-inch (23cm) cast-iron or non-stick pan  with the remaining olive oil and

heat the pan in the oven.

3. Once the pan and the oven are blazing-hot, pour enough batter into the pan to cover the bottom, swirl it around, then pop it

back in the oven.

4. Bake until the socca is firm and beginning to blister and burn. The exact time will depend on your broiler.

5. Slide the socca out of the pan onto a cutting board, slice into pieces, then shower it with coarse salt, pepper, and a drizzle of

olive oil.

6. Cook the remaining socca batter the same way, adding a touch more oil to the pan between each one.

From The Sweet Life in Paris. Photo credit: David Lebovitz