Wednesday, January 31, 2018

(They say I'm too young to) Socca

I feel like you don't see a lot of *empty plates* on food blogs, and now I can really understand why. Also, what happened to the tip of that knife? (I actually know.)
The recipes! They are so hard to post in the winter, because I make food at dinnertime, when it’s already dark, and then the photographs come out so bad, like this, all yellowy and glare-glossed, like a 1970’s Bonne Belle Piece-of-Cake Lip Smacker ad. I’m sorry.

This is not exactly the right place to mention this fact, but I have a piece in the current issue of O magazine! The one with Oprah in a gold outfit on it. Edited to add: It's actually online here now.
I’ve been wanting to post this one for ages, though: socca (if you’re French), or farinata (if you’re Italian). I myself call it socca, because I like to sing this song while I’m making it, which my friend Ali put on a mix-tape for me in 1987.

But whatever you call it, it’s a crisp-topped and tender, super-savory pancake, fragrant with rosemary and onions—but even fragrant without, if you make it plain. It’s mostly just water, olive oil, and chickpea flour, which is an ingredient that I love (try these crackers if you haven’t yet), and that I use all the time, especially now with my family’s strict gluten-free situation.

Gratuitous kitten-in-a-nightie-hammock shot.
Love to you, my people. xo


This is Mark Bittman’s recipe, more or less. I make this all the time—to go with soups and salads, or to eat on its own or with a glass of beer. It’s perfect for gluten-free folks, of course, but everybody likes it, and it even offers a hit of protein thanks to the chickpea flour. Also, to be honest, I sometimes make it without the onions and rosemary, which is even easier (I just heat the oil in the preheated pan before adding the batter). If you like, you can use it as the basis for a quick little pizza. Top it with cheese and sauce before broiling, instead of, or in addition to, the olive oil, and voila! Really good and easy.

1 cup chickpea flour
1 ½  to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup lukewarm water
4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil (divided use)
½ large onion (or 1 small onion), thinly sliced
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

Heat the oven to 450. Put a well-seasoned 12-inch cast-iron skillet in oven. (You can use a glass pie plate in a pinch.)

Put the chickpea flour in a bowl with the salt and pepper. Whisk in the water and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cover and let sit at room temperature while the oven heats, or for as long as 12 hours. The batter should be about the consistency of heavy cream; thin it with a little water if it seems too thick.

Remove the pan from the oven, pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into it and swirl. Add the onions return the pan to the oven and cook, stirring once or twice, until they’re well browned, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the rosemary. Stir the onions and rosemary into the batter, then immediately pour the batter into the pan (or pour the batter on top of the onions, like you’re making an upside-down cake). Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pancake is firm and the edges are set. It might look cracked on top, and this is fine!

Heat the broiler and drizzle the top of the pancake with another tablespoon or 2 of oil. Set the pancake a few inches away from the broiler, and cook just long enough to brown it in spots. Cut it into wedges, and serve hot or warm.

Unless you, also, buy it at the Scratch and Dent, your chickpea flour will likely cost more than this.


  1. Yes, winter photos are Hard. But nice choice to put it next to those vibrant greens. Looks delish!

  2. The Bonne Bell look means it is a vintage look. Very cool.

  3. I've always wanted to try making socca, it's one of those things I put on my 'to cook' list and each year I never make it. Maybe 2018 is the year!?
    Ps. your kitty looks just like mine when it's winter here, he had his summer clip before Christmas and I forgot how fluffy he really is. You get used to his trimmed fur with just a fluffy tail and paws :)

  4. Dale in Denver5:37 PM

    Celiac? Two of my three sons were diagnosed a couple of years ago, so I've been doing my best to adapt some of your recipes - and purge what can't be adapted. It wasn't a devastating diagnosis - not like some allergies are acute and lethal. Just a blip in the road - especially in the big scheme of what is going on in our country. I'm perpetually pissed since 11/2016.

  5. Can't wait to read your Oprah article and I am really enjoying your gratuitous kitty shots.

  6. Hey! We're missing the link to the crackers here. I know I can do a search for them, but it would be lovely to have a link too! ;-)

  7. Woohoo, dinner was just made that much better! Thanks

  8. Catherine, I bought HUGE bag of chickpea flour for 1.99 (not scratched or dented, even!) at the Indian grocery store in Coolidge Corner. They were practically giving it away. How rude to self-link:

    You got me re-excited about socca. Thank you!

  9. No, I meant to say this:

    With the picture of my very cheap flour.

  10. Well, it's a grey morning and I crossed my fingers and hoped you had updated your blog, and bam, just like that, I have a thing I can make for my gluten-free bestie and her son. And a cute kitty, and, bonus, an acknowledgment of the fearsome times we inhabit. That and a cup of coffee, and I can start all over again. Oh, and my 4th grader LOVED One Mixed-Up Night, which she received for Christmas. Thanks!

  11. Thanks for the Zumba inspiration--I am now looking into classes in my area and can't wait to show off how uncoordinated I am!

  12. Listening to your video as I read and am now am dancing out to the kitchen to make some socca! I just found your blog and am enchanted. It's nice to find a fellow foodie furiously fed up with the nonsense happening around us. I love your writing and taste in music! Hang in there. The tide must turn.