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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Sunday
Mar062011

Socca with Rosemary and Cumin (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

socca with rosemary and cumin

Once you make socca, you'll never want to live a life without it. Socca is a thin, unleavened flatbread or pancake made from chickpea flour.  Known in Italy as farinata or cecina, this chickpea pancake was founded in Genoa and became a popular food of the Ligurian Sea coast, from Nice to Pisa. Socca couldn't be easier to make - simply chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and salt and spices. It is cooked in broiler or open oven until crisp and charred.  Socca has gained popularity all around the world; depending on where you are in the world, it might be garnished with more olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, harissa, or even jam. 

I like it hot out of the broiler, brushed with olive oil, and sprinkled with French grey salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Despite traveling throughout France multiple times and Italy, I've never eaten socca at the source - my experience with socca is limited to my kitchen.  For a great write up about socca, check out this post by David Leibovitz. I often default to him for just about anything, especially anything French. My default socca recipe is tweaked from the version in that post, and I think you'll love it as much as I do.  It is a great snack, especially for parties, and makes a lovely appetizer for dinners. 

This recipe is also linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free.

socca with rosemary and cuminsocca with rosemary and cumin

Socca with Rosemary and Cumin

yield 5-6 10" socca flatbreads | slightly tweaked from David Leibovitz

I adapted David's recipe slightly, adding rosemary and including a longer soaking period for the chickpea flour with a little acid to help break down the phytic acid in the chickpeas and make it more easily digested. 

If you are concerned about heating olive oil to the temperature required in a broiler, feel free to use ghee or another high temperature oil of your choice. Using melted ghee creates a wonderful, rich nutty flavor - but I often use olive oil, to be honest. I'm willing to take a few free radicals here and there, especially for something as tasty as socca. 

  • 2 cups chickpea flour
  • 2 cups + 1/4 cup water
  • optional: 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar, raw coconut vinegar, whey, or lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp dry rosemary leaves, lightly crushed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • freshly-ground black pepper, plus additional sea salt and olive oil for serving

Mix together the flour, 2 cups water, and acidic medium, and whisk until totally smooth. Let batter rest for 8-12 hours lightly covered with a towel at room temperature (on the counter is perfect!). It will begin to bubble slightly and become lighter and airier. Then whisk in salt, cumin, rosemary, remaining 1/4 cup water, and 2 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

socca with rosemary and cumin

To cook, heat the broiler in your oven. Oil a 9- or 10-inch (23cm) pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil and heat the pan in the oven.  I used my 10" cast iron skillet, which worked perfectly.

Once the pan and the oven are blazing-hot, remove from the broiler, pour enough batter into the pan to cover the bottom, swirl it around, then pop it back in the oven. Thinner batter yields a lighter, crisper socca than heavily applied batter.

Bake until the socca is firm and beginning to blister and burn. The exact time will depend on your broiler.

socca with rosemary and cumin

Slide the socca out of the pan onto a cutting board, slice into pieces (I use a pizza cutter!), then shower it with coarse salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cook the remaining socca batter the same way, adding a teaspoon or two of oil to the pan and heating it slightly again in the broiler before adding the batter and cooking.

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Reader Comments (8)

I've only made socca once and it was really good. One of my 2 year old loved it. I'll have to try your recipe next.

March 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

wow, this is some of the tastiest looking socca i've ever seen. i bought some chickpea flour at an asian market a while back, and the crackers i made with it tasted like, well, dirt. did i get the wrong kind or was it just a bad recipe? what brand do you use?

March 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

This is one of my favorite things to make, although I didn't know the fancy name! Your version sounds so delicious...I can never get enough rosemary.

March 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKris @ GLOW

I have the batter sitting on my counter right now & can't wait to make this for part of dinner tomorrow! Thanks for what I'm expecting will be a delicious recipe :)

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErica Sara

What happens to the final product if you let it set less than 8 hours?

*kim (also from minneapolis. also with horrid health issues stemming from lyme. also with the millions of food allergies/sensitivities)

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkb

i just made this, but i used lard that i rendered from some short ribs from the farmer's market instead of olive oil. it was SO GOOD! the lard gave it great flavor, and is more heat stable. thanks for the great recipe.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

@Ellen - I"m glad you loved it! I"m assuming you found answers yourself to the questions you asked. I use Bob's Red Mill brand most often, but have also used a variety of (non-GF certified) brands from Middle Eastern markets. I would love to try some of the LIgurian chickpea flour that I've seen online, which is supposed to be very nice. I find chickpea flour to be something that is best used in savory things like this. I don't like it in sweet baked goods, because I think it tastes metallic and weird. even savory things sometimes taste funky - so I don't your crackers were a bad recipe, it might just be the flavor of chickpea flour in some things that may disagree with you. but Socca does something magical to chickpea flour and makes it wonderful! Great call with the lard, BTW - I've still yet to render my own lard or cook with it at all, I must try it! Sounds delish. xo

@kb - Kims with Lyme unite! I already have one Lyme friend named Kim, so why not another :) I would let it soak for at least 2 hours, which is what the original recipes and most socca recipes recommend. it helps the water soak into the flour better, and creates a thicker, smoother batter and a better result. I chose to soak it longer with a little acid to break down phytic acid and start t he fermentation process. If you don't want to soak it as long as 8-12 hours, at least soak it for 2. hope that helps!

It does help, thanks! I made it and it was so good!

Instead of rosemary I put 1/4 t cinnamon in it (still added the cumin). yum yum yum

Is there a club for Kim's with lyme? I know of one as well... that makes 4 of us. Which is enough for a club president, vp, secretary and treasurer.

March 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkb
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo