The bag of chickpea flour has been waiting for action for a while. I’ve marked socca on my list of recipes to make for quite some time. I’m finally getting around to make them. Chickpea flour is known to be a “power” flour with its protein-packed and gluten-free quality. It makes me wonder why the use of chickpea flour is not as popular in the US as it is in the rest of the world. Socca, or chickpea pancake, is a specialty of Nice in France. In Italy, it’s known as farinata.
Chickpea flour is a dense flour. But it binds incredibly well with other ingredients and gives baked goods a sturdy structure that other gluten-free flours lack. It also delivers a savory note; you don’t need to use as much salt. There are many uses of chickpea. You can use the liquid from soaking the beans and whip it up into cream or meringue. Ground them into flour, you can make pancakes and noodles with it. You can’t overstate the versatility of chickpea.
Heidi Swanson’s silver-dollar socca is adapted from a traditional version, which is made with primarily chickpea flour and water. I like the silver-dollar size. It is easier to flip in a pan. Make sure you use a non-stick pan to make these pancakes. Her recipe calls for buttermilk. Buttermilk is a great ingredient. I’m more than happy to add “probiotic” microbes which allow us to plant our inner gardens with a diverse bacterial flora. The silver-dollar socca can be eaten as a snack throughout the day. You may serve it with a dip or bruschetta. Served it in a larger size, as large as a pizza, socca can be made into a hearty appetizer.
Ottolenghi has at least two socca recipes. One served with caramelized onions and cherry tomatoes that I came across in Plenty. One served with spiced eggplant. I put up one of his socca recipes here for comparison. The choice is yours. Heidi Swanson and Yotam Ottolenghi recipes are presented below side by side. The 50% scaling column gives the amount in weight to make half of the recipe. Make socca in any sizes, texture and for different occasions of your choosing. Similar to making pancakes and crepes, you might have to play with the recipes somewhat, by adding more flour or water to the batter, to suit the conditions in your kitchen.