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Socca or Farinata


Ilaine
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Mark Bittman raves about it and has an easy looking recipe, but I would like to try some before I try making it.

I can't speak to homemade socca, but I've had it in Nice probably a dozen times (Member Number One is from Nice), and the real, old-school socca houses make it in giant, hula-hoop sized circular pans - then they scrape off your serving with a spatula, and throw it onto a paper plate (or into a paper cone). It is simple and delicious, but sometimes almost disappointingly mild - the key is not to let it get too cold because it's better when it's at least a little warm. Can't be too thin, can't be too thick; if there aren't some crispy parts, then it isn't cooked well; a touch of salt (just a touch) is not a bad thing.

As for pissaladière (the "other" specialty from Nice), that's another story entirely - a much more difficult execution, and I've never come across a good one here in the U.S. that wasn't homemade by, well, Member Number One or magdalena. Note to Gillian: don't pit the olives. smile.gif

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On 1/30/2011 at 9:49 PM, leleboo said:
David Lebovitz has a recipe too (he's spent a fair bit of time in Nice): http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/06/socca-enfin/

Reading this (and thanks for posting it), brings to mind two things:

1) Unlike what Mark Bittman says, I do not remember black pepper ever being a prominent flavor in great socca. It's there, but should be an undertone.
2) In this article (which is a spinoff from what Leigh posted), the pictures of the #1 socca (both directly above and below the mention of "Chez Pipo"), is exactly what I think of when I think of socca - if you can pull that off at home? God love ya, and please invite me over.

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OK, I remain intimidated by the concept of making something I have never eaten before. But I will give it a try, anyway. Soon, no doubt.

If any of you make this dish, do you use Indian chickpea flour (besan) or European chickpea flour?

I note that yesterday the formidable Zora Margolis mentioned making chickepea flour in her Vitamix.

So now I have three options, well, I guess, four. Besan (Indian) off the shelf, Bob's Red Mill (I assume made from European chickpeas) off the shelf, make my own using Indian or European chickpeas (reportedly the difference lies not just in the chickpeas but whether they are toasted or not.) (Toasted before grinding? I do have a bag of roasted Indian chickpeas, which are a kind of snack like roasted peanuts or roasted soy nuts. Sort of bland, but OK.)

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Reading this (and thanks for posting it), brings to mind two things:

1) Unlike what Mark Bittman says, I do not remember black pepper ever being a prominent flavor in great socca. It's there, but should be an undertone.
2) In this article (which is a spinoff from what Leigh posted), the pictures of the #1 socca (both directly above and below the mention of "Chez Pipo"), is exactly what I think of when I think of socca - if you can pull that off at home? God love ya, and please invite me over.

I made socca just yesterday, and believe I posted about making the flour in my Vitamix. Hearing loss is definitely a hazzard!

I bought a 10-inch cast iron, shallow skillet on Ebay just to make socca and perhaps crepes. It was well-seasoned and I'm happy with it, although my non-stick cookware worked flawlessly.

I've been using David Lebovitz's recipe and method. I have nothing to compare it to as far as originality, but I say this is easy...go for it.

I went multi-national and served it with Polish bigos.

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I have made socca several times using the Balthazar cookbook recipe, and if you can make crepes then you can make socca...although having never been to Nice can't vouch on how authentic the Balthazar recipe is!

That said, they have a mild nutty flavor that quickly becomes addicitive. I use what ever chickpea flour I can get at Giant or Wholefoods.

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I've been making socca for several years, using Ana Sortun's book Spice. Here's the recipe. Go to "look inside the book" type "chickpea crepes" in the search box and click forward to page 8.

I've used besan flour from the Indian grocery, and when I haven't had any in the house, I've made flour with dried chickpeas in my VitaMix blender's grain grinding jar. Both worked equally well. I often serve them with carrot puree and dukkah, from the same book, look for page 6 inside the book.

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I'm attempting the socca recipe from Plenty and finally using Bob's Red Mill garbanzo bean flour I bought some time ago...the last time I got this impulse.  This is my first try, so we'll see how it goes...

This recipe calls for caramelized onions and roasted tomatoes to go on top.

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It went pretty well, except I'm not so great at flipping crepes, so they didn't come out shaped too perfectly.  I liked the tomato and onion toppings a lot.  We had the leftovers reheated in the oven for lunch today.  If I can improve my turning technique, they'll be even better next time.

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I've been making the Mark Bittman recipe. My point of comparison is the G Street foods version, which is thicker and not crispy, I think. (And looking at the pictures above, now I want to go to Nice.) The Bittman recipe makes up very like the one I get at G Street Foods. I use a cast-iron skillet heated in the oven, and pour the batter into the very hot skillet.

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Socca doesn't have any toppings. :(

Ottolenghi's version does. Several places I've seen it described as a socca pissaladière.  As I've looked around, I've seen that there are different methods employed for this.  Most of them do not call for toppings.  The recipe I was going to make before I decided on Plenty is one where the socca are baked in pans in a very hot oven, instead on the stove top and then in the oven.

ETA:  Ottolenghi explains the origins of that socca recipe here, though the version he published in Plenty is slightly different from this one.

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So what is the texture supposed to be like?  Crackly on the outside, tender inside?  Uniformly something throughout?

I'm not exactly sure what it's supposed to be like, but mine were fairly heavy and dense, with small air bubbles and irregular browning.  I think I'd like them a little browner next time.  Some recipes seem designed to be crispier and more cracker-like.  The Ottolenghi recipe uses egg whites, and I'm sure recipes recipes without egg would have a somewhat different texture.

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I've been making socca for several years, using Ana Sortun's book Spice. Here's the recipe. Go to "look inside the book" type "chickpea crepes" in the search box and click forward to page 8.

I've used besan flour from the Indian grocery, and when I haven't had any in the house, I've made flour with dried chickpeas in my VitaMix blender's grain grinding jar. Both worked equally well. I often serve them with carrot puree and dukkah, from the same book, look for page 6 inside the book.

I clicked the link to see Zora's recipe and then realized I already have that book.

Anyway, in Gujarat they make a similar chickpea flour bread/pancake thing called Pudla. The recipe I have calls for onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies, ajwain seeds, salt and hot pepper powder added to the batter. I have made these numerous times and they are really good.

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I can't speak to homemade socca, but I've had it in Nice probably a dozen times (Member Number One is from Nice), and the real, old-school socca houses make it in giant, hula-hoop sized circular pans - then they scrape off your serving with a spatula, and throw it onto a paper plate (or into a paper cone). It is simple and delicious, but sometimes almost disappointingly mild - the key is not to let it get too cold because it's better when it's at least a little warm. Can't be too thin, can't be too thick; if there aren't some crispy parts, then it isn't cooked well; a touch of salt (just a touch) is not a bad thing.

As for pissaladière (the "other" specialty from Nice), that's another story entirely - a much more difficult execution, and I've never come across a good one here in the U.S. that wasn't homemade by, well, Member Number One or magdalena. Note to Gillian: don't pit the olives. smile.gif

My pissaladiere is better than what I had in Nice (though my sampling was hardly exhaustive).  Unpitted olives are barbaric and an impediment to the appropriate quaffing of muscular pink wine. :)

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I have a question(s) for all of you who have made or eaten socca. I'm preparing a dinner next Friday for my siblings--who have never been in this apartment before--and want to serve as finger food something I saw Jacques Pepin make. He made some sort of flat-bread type thing (don't know what it was) and then spread sour cream, capers, red onion and smoked salmon on that and sliced it up. I have actually done this for a party before using those prepared pizza rounds (Bolla?) and wasn't too happy with it. I already have all the ingredients to make the socca recipe from Plenty, but want to make it in advance and top it just before everybody arrives.

Is that even possible for socca, or does it have to be served as soon as it is cooked? Would smoked salmon even work here?

Thanks in advance for what I know will be helpful.

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I have a question(s) for all of you who have made or eaten socca. I'm preparing a dinner next Friday for my siblings--who have never been in this apartment before--and want to serve as finger food something I saw Jacques Pepin make. He made some sort of flat-bread type thing (don't know what it was) and then spread sour cream, capers, red onion and smoked salmon on that and sliced it up. I have actually done this for a party before using those prepared pizza rounds (Bolla?) and wasn't too happy with it. I already have all the ingredients to make the socca recipe from Plenty, but want to make it in advance and top it just before everybody arrives.

Is that even possible for socca, or does it have to be served as soon as it is cooked? Would smoked salmon even work here?

Thanks in advance for what I know will be helpful.

Socca is a kind of thick crepe. With creme fraiche, salmon, et al on top, this would be a challenge to eat as finger food. I think it would only work eaten with knife and fork on a plate. With those particular toppings, some thin-sliced toasted pumpernickel pieces would make a tasty base for a canape.

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Socca is a kind of thick crepe. With creme fraiche, salmon, et al on top, this would be a challenge to eat as finger food. I think it would only work eaten with knife and fork on a plate. With those particular toppings, some thin-sliced toasted pumpernickel pieces would make a tasty base for a canape.

Throw my purism out the window here - I still agree with Zora. Even with toppings, it's tough finger food: it falls apart, it glistens with a bit of oil and crumbles seemingly randomly, it's very hard to use toppings with. The flavors will work with many things (it is essentially chickpea flatbread), but serving it, with toppings, as a party food would challenge even the most well-prepared and ambitious home cook, and is not a safe option. Scraping it out of its cooking pan forms something almost like scrapple in texture and final form.

I'm going to write magdalena (Member Number One's mom, and a native Nií§oise), and ask for her thoughts.

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I'm going to write magdalena (Member Number One's mom, and a native Nií§oise), and ask for her thoughts.

A native Nií§oise *and* a computer débile (she needs to ask her technician how to "cut and paste")  :lol:

Don, je regrette beaucoup de ne pas pouvoir répondre í  Barbara parce que je ne sais pas vraiment comment: cut-and-paste etc... Il faudra que le demande í  l'informaticien la prochaine fois. Tu sais, je ne consacre pas beaucoup de temps í  l'ordi, juste ce dont j'ai vraiment besoin. Mais je vais le faire.

J'ai une très bonne recette de la vraie socca nií§oise: les proportions sont:

Pour 250 grammes de farine de pois chiches

-50 centilitres d'eau

-2 cuillerées í  soupe d'huile d'olive

-1 cuillerée í  café de sel fin.

Je précise toute la recette puisqu'il est possible de trouver la traduction.

-Mettre 50 centilitres d'eau froide dans une marmite. Y mélanger, au fouet, 250 grammes de farine de pois chiches, 2 cuillerées í  soupe d'huile d'olive, 1 cuillerée í  café de sel. Battre vivement pour éliminer tout grumeau.

-Verser sur une plaque spéciale, légèrement huilée. Cuire í  four très chaud.

On peut aussi utiliser un plat allant au four. Ne verser que 2 í  3 millimètres de páte au fond du plat huilé.

On aura chauffé le four pendant au moins 1 heure. Au moment d'introduire la socca, allumer vivement le grill.Cuire près du grill. Percer avec la pointe d'un couteau les cloques qui peuvent se former.

- Lorsque la surface de la crète est bien  dorée, mème légèrement brí»lée en certains points, retirer du feu et servir rapidement en coupant des parts avec une spatule ou autre. Bien poivrer.

L'idéal cuire sur du cuivre et dans un four í  bois mais....

Donc, on ne peut absolument pas prévoir de préparer la socca í  l'avance. On doit la servir très chaude.

Barbara a déjí  une recette mais celle-ci est la vraie de vraie.

J'espère te faire plaisir tout de mème.

Bisous.  TH.

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Socca is a kind of thick crepe. With creme fraiche, salmon, et al on top, this would be a challenge to eat as finger food. I think it would only work eaten with knife and fork on a plate. With those particular toppings, some thin-sliced toasted pumpernickel pieces would make a tasty base for a canape.

Thanks so much.  That's exactly what I needed to know. i was actually thinking about using something like crackers or baguette slices; but, the pumpernickel sounds perfect! If I weren't already planning on serving butternut squash soup as a first course, I would have considered the Plenty recipe (with onions and tomatoes) as a first course.

I knew I came to the right place. :)

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A native Nií§oise *and* a computer débile (she needs to ask her technician how to "cut and paste")  :lol:

Don, je regrette beaucoup de ne pas pouvoir répondre í  Barbara parce que je ne sais pas vraiment comment: cut-and-paste etc... Il faudra que le demande í  l'informaticien la prochaine fois. Tu sais, je ne consacre pas beaucoup de temps í  l'ordi, juste ce dont j'ai vraiment besoin. Mais je vais le faire.

J'ai une très bonne recette de la vraie socca nií§oise: les proportions sont:

Pour 250 grammes de farine de pois chiches

-50 centilitres d'eau

-2 cuillerées í  soupe d'huile d'olive

-1 cuillerée í  café de sel fin.

Je précise toute la recette puisqu'il est possible de trouver la traduction.

-Mettre 50 centilitres d'eau froide dans une marmite. Y mélanger, au fouet, 250 grammes de farine de pois chiches, 2 cuillerées í  soupe d'huile d'olive, 1 cuillerée í  café de sel. Battre vivement pour éliminer tout grumeau.

-Verser sur une plaque spéciale, légèrement huilée. Cuire í  four très chaud.

On peut aussi utiliser un plat allant au four. Ne verser que 2 í  3 millimètres de páte au fond du plat huilé.

On aura chauffé le four pendant au moins 1 heure. Au moment d'introduire la socca, allumer vivement le grill.Cuire près du grill. Percer avec la pointe d'un couteau les cloques qui peuvent se former.

- Lorsque la surface de la crète est bien  dorée, mème légèrement brí»lée en certains points, retirer du feu et servir rapidement en coupant des parts avec une spatule ou autre. Bien poivrer.

L'idéal cuire sur du cuivre et dans un four í  bois mais....

Donc, on ne peut absolument pas prévoir de préparer la socca í  l'avance. On doit la servir très chaude.

Barbara a déjí  une recette mais celle-ci est la vraie de vraie.

J'espère te faire plaisir tout de mème.

Bisous.  TH.

The Bittman recipe I'm using is very similar in the batter, but I can see how this comes out as a thin cracker-type item. I have been cooking it in a cast iron pan with about 1/2 - 3/4 inch of batter. In texture it comes out not unlike a dense cornbread or a thick unleavened pancake.

So I guess it's not really socca I'm making. OTOH, it's easy, it's delicious, and my family will eat it, so I'm not taking it off my dinner rotation any time soon!

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