“What happened to your arm and hand?”
“Oh they’re just burns from making some chickpea flat breads. This one is from last week. The one on my hand is from two nights ago.”
I have kitchen wounds! And people are starting to notice. Clearly, I can’t be trusted with a hot oven. But these flat breads are worth every little badge of honor from the 450-500F oven needed to make them. I keep forgetting when I take the pan out of the oven after removing the socca that it’s still at 450F. I have accidentally brushed up against the handle with my forearm in prepping for something else (last week) and I grabbed it by the searing hot handle to put it in the sink (two nights ago). My mom’s friend recommended putting an oven mitt over the handle as soon as I take it out. It is a great idea, which I used last night, but it kind of burned the inside of the mitt, which looks like it’s made of cotton.
If you’re averse to using the oven in the height of summer, don’t fret. You don’t have to keep the oven running for long and it makes such a summery treat for lunch or dinner that I’ve added it to my rotation to highlight summer’s goodies. It’s an anchor holding down a spot between bowl nights and taco nights. For me, the crispier and thinner the better.
Socca with white wine or rosé evokes images of Provençe and neighboring Liguria– where it’s called farinata. It’s traditionally cooked in wood ovens on copper disks, roughly cut and served hot or warm. In the past I’ve made it in a tart pan, but I find that I like them thin and crispy and I started using my skillet. In the main market in Nice, this is considered a street food. On my table, it’s gourmet.
I top these here with seasonal radishes, dill, arugula, spinach, nut cheese and capers, but I usually make them with avocados too. You can add smoked salmon if fish is in your repertoire, or even a thin layer of tahini or hummus. You can keep it as minimal or as loaded as you wish.
SOCCA- CHICKPEA FLATBREADS
- 3/4 cup chickpea flour
- 3/4 cup water*
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4-6 tablespoons olive oil (2 for the batter, the rest for the pan)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
*the ratio of flour to water is 1 to 1 so if you want to make more or vary the thickness it’s easy to do so.
Toppings shown here:
- handful of dill
- 2 radishes
- 2 tablespoons hummus
- 1 handful spinach
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 tsp nut cheese
These instructions are if you’re making one at a time. If you have 2 pans you can make both at once and not have to repeat the process.
Heat the oven to 450. Put a well-seasoned or nonstick 12-inch cast-iron skillet or stainless steel skillet in oven. (Tart pans work too).
Put the chickpea flour in a bowl; add the salt and pepper. Slowly add the lukewarm water, whisking to eliminate lumps. Stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir in the rosemary/thyme. Cover and let sit while the oven heats, or for as long as 12 hours. The batter should be about the consistency of heavy cream.
Remove the pan, pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into it and swirl, making sure the entire pan is covered. Pour half of the batter into the pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the socca is firm and the edges set and browning. Remove pan from oven and remove socca from pan with a spatula. Cut into 4 slices with a sharp knife or pizza cutter and add desired toppings. Repeat this step for the second socca.