amy chaplin

celebrating the art of eating well


POSTED ON April 17, 2011

socca straight from the oven

When we are blessed with beautiful spring days, my approach to meals changes dramatically. I naturally start thinking of lighter foods and dishes that taste good at room temperature, like marinated beets, tender bitter greens, white bean aioli and flavorful roasted vegetable salads, all of which would be perfect paired with this delicious socca.


socca and accompaniments

Socca is a crisp pancake-like flat bread made from chickpea flour. It is sold by street vendors in the south of France and has the same simple ingredients as panisse: chickpea flour, water, salt and olive oil, but it’s faster to make because the batter doesn’t need to be cooked first. You can also make the batter hours ahead.


It’s been years since I first made socca. So when the mild spring weather inspired a spontaneous get together with neighbors, I seized the opportunity to try it again. Socca is an ideal appetizer and snack food.  It’s best served in a casual setting as it tastes best fresh from the oven — unless you have a couple of cast iron skillets on hand, your guests will have to wait for the next socca to emerge.  I promise no one will mind though because they are definitely worth waiting for!

To accompany the socca I boiled some yellow and red beets (separately) until tender, slipped their skins off and tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper and vinegar. The red beets were tossed with balsamic and the yellow with a combination of apple cider vinegar and brown rice vinegar. I left them marinating at room temperature all day, turning every time I walked by.

marinated red beets

golden beets

I also threw together a simple green salad of baby spinach, mustard greens, a few dandelion leaves, radishes and lots of chopped parsley and scallions all tossed in a lemon olive oil dressing.
The warm socca was a hit, topped with well-marinated beets, a knob of goat feta and a few dressed green leaves. I have to confess, they are really, really good eaten alone too!

Before making the socca this time I checked out recipes by Mark Bittman and David Lebovitz and adapted them to come up with this.

socca with beets, feta and salad

mixing batter

socca ready to go in the oven

top side of socca

lovely crisp underside

spring table


In the photos you can see that I sprinkled these with red chili flakes. I also made a few topped with finely sliced red onion that were even more delicious.

3 cups chickpea flour

3 cups warm water

¼ cup olive oil plus more for oiling skillet

3 teaspoons sea salt

½ teaspoon fresh black pepper

3 teaspoons freshly ground toasted cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Hot chili flakes, optional

Finely sliced onion, optional

Place chickpea flour in a bowl, pour in half the water and whisk to combine. Add remaining water and whisk until smooth and free of any lumps. Stir in olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and turmeric. Cover bowl and let batter sit for an hour or several.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place a 9-inch cast iron skillet in the oven for 5 minutes. Turn on broiler and remove skillet (carefully!). Drizzle 2 to 3 teaspoons of olive oil into skillet and tilt pan to evenly distribute. Pour 1 cup of batter into skillet and sprinkle with red chili flakes and or onion.

Place skillet under broiler and broil for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are browned, exact time will depend on your broiler. Flip socca onto a cutting board and slice into wedges. Serve hot or warm. Repeat as needed with remaining batter.

Makes about 6 9-inch socca.

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  • thecatskillkiwi says:

    now i know what to do with chickpea flour!

  • Mr Weiss says:

    Wow this is pretty fascinating, the Catskill Kiwi will be trying this one soon whether she likes it or not! 🙂

  • Maria says:

    Ah, the colors of Spring, wonderful!

  • Mandiee says:

    your spread looks so fresh and delicious! i love using socca as a pizza crust, or just as a gluten-free flat bread. i’m sure it would be lovely with beets, as well.

    have a lovely day!

  • Cassie says:

    This meal looks perfect. I absolutely adore beets – I can’t really figure out if I like golden beets or red beets better. Hopefully they are at my farmer’s market soon so I can experiment!

  • gigi says:

    we are loving this in the catskills!
    the colors are so lively

    thank you!

  • Sarah says:

    I’ve never heard about socca before. It looks and sound delicious. Defo have to add to my to-do list. Now to crack out the new bag of chickpea flour!

  • Jen Laceda says:

    thanks for sharing this! will make this soon!

  • aimee says:

    I have been making this recipe all week… socca is amazing, and so easy. Thank you for being so thoughtful in the kitchen! You know when you taste something and you think, I will surely make this for the rest of my life… that is this recipe. I even pickled my own cabbage and I throw feta on top of that and scoop it up with the socca. Delicious.

  • Erika says:

    I found this recipe (and your blog) more than a year ago and I have been making your socca recipe ever since. It was a food I didn’t know about until I read about it online, and now I (and my partner) are hooked on it. I do not eat glutinous grains or corn so my choices for flatbreads are few and far between. Socca always scratches the itch for something starchy, warm, and filling. I’ve been creatively experimenting with toppings – everything from dried rosemary to melted cheddar to a bit of salsa to yogurt and jam (like a crepe). The very best is still just socca hot out of the oven with coarse sea salt on top.

    Thanks for sharing this and all your other thoughtful recipes with us. Your blog is a peaceful delight and I love reading it.

  • joanne says:

    I’d love to try this, but don’t have an iron skillet. Can this be made using something else to make it in? Thanks!

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