Socca (Chickpea Crêpes)
Serves 4 (about 8 crêpes)
Chickpea flour crêpes originated in Genoa, Italy. It goes by different names in different parts of the world.
This popular thin crêpe version, common in Nice, France, is called “socca”, and is served piping hot on pieces of paper (it’s basically a Niçoise pancake). A thicker version is called “farinata” in Genoa, Italy.
It is a workingman’s morning snack, usually baked in brick ovens in pizza pans.
In Tuscany it is called “cecina”.
I’d love to go to Nice just to find whose socca I prefer: Chez Pipo on Bavastro Street (a more authentic area of the port—fewer tourists), or Vieux Nice or René Socca.
You can keep the batter for up to 4 days in the refrigerator for instant snack making, or for a quick dinner crêpe.
It is usually eaten plain as a side, but you can also use it to wrap warmed shredded meats or stews.
1 C chickpea flour
1¼ C water, more if necessary to thin the batter
1 TBL extra-virgin olive oil plus more for oiling the pan and drizzling
½ teaspoon coarse (Kosher) salt, scant
Freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)
- In a medium bowl, sift the chickpea flour. Slowly whisk in the water, adding more by the teaspoonfuls to make a batter the consistency of heavy cream. Whisk in olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer the batter to a pitcher or measuring cup with a spout to make for easy pouring.
- Let batter rest for an hour, but 15 minutes is okay if you can’t wait.
- To cook single socca, preheat a large heavy nonstick skillet, or a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, over moderate-high heat or under the broiler. Pour in a little olive oil and swirl or use a silicone brush to coat the pan. Frizzle a few rosemary leaves in the hot oil for flavor if desired.
- Pour about ¼ cup of the batter into the pan and tilt the pan to coat the bottom evenly with the batter and make a pancake between 1/16-inch and 1/8-inch thick (add more water to batter if necessary).
- Cook until firm, blistering and starting to burn, about 1 minute. Flip the pancake and cook another minute until the bottom side is golden. Slide onto cutting board, slice and shower with coarse salt, olive oil and pepper. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- To make silver dollar size pancakes, pour 2-inch circles around the edge of the pan, spaced 1/2-inch apart. Do not swirl. Cook until small holes pock the top and the bottom is browned, about 1 minute. Flip the pancake and cook another minute until the bottom side is golden. Eat with maple syrup, honey or jam.
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