I’m always on the lookout for a simple, savory treat that can be served as an appetizer, or snack, with drinks. Ideally it would have a do-ahead component, be quick and easy to make, pack a flavor punch, and be equally good hot, warm, or at room temperature. This socca has all that and it’s gluten-free.
Socca is an unleavened pancake made with chickpea flour. It’s original to Genoa and the Ligurian coast and is a popular street food in Nice. The pancake gets cooked in a hot skillet until the center is set and the edges are firm and crisp. You can customize your socca by adding onions, herbs, olives, and any other vegetables you might have on hand. The batter can be made up to twelve hours ahead of serving time, which makes preparation a cinch. Cook your vegetables, chop the olives and herbs, mix it all into the batter, then pour the mixture into the hot pan and pop it in the oven.
This is a nice way to add a gluten-free option to your appetizer tray, and it goes well with cheese, charcuterie and savory dips. Pour your favorite wine and enjoy a very delicious happy hour.
Socca, with Onions, Olives, and Herbs
A savory chickpea flour pancake, filled with crispy onions, olives, peppers, and fresh herbs. Serve it warm with drinks or your favorite wine for a delicious appetizer or snack.
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4-6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 a large onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped, sweet bell pepper
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped olives (I used a mix of black and green olives)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, marjoram
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in 1 cup of lukewarm water, blending well to eliminate lumps. Stir in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover the batter and allow it to rest while the oven heats, or for as long as 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat a 12-inch cast iron pan on medium-high until hot. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan, then add the sliced onions and chopped peppers. Cook until the vegetables are well-browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the chopped herbs. Stir the cooked vegetables and herbs into the batter, then pour the batter back into the now sizzling-hot skillet. Scatter the olives over the top, and put the pan in the oven. Bake the pancake for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the center is firm, and the edges are crisp.
Brush the top of the pancake with a little olive oil and set it under the broiler just long enough to brown it in spots. ( Watch carefully and don't walk away.) Cut the pancake into wedges or squares and serve warm.
Feel free to substitute your favorite herbs and vegetables; mushrooms are good, as well as thinly sliced squash or asparagus. Chopped cooked spinach can be added with the herbs. You can even use socca as the base for a pizza, and top it with tomatoes and cheese. You decide! See the original recipe here.