Ah, socca, I will learn to love you yet.
A thin, crepe-like cake made of chickpeas and baked until blistered then showered in black pepper? It sounds divine to me, but so far I've been underwhelmed by my home results. I first came across the concept of socca while cooking my way through Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty, where it was served with caramelized onions and roasted tomatoes. I followed the recipe to the letter but my reaction was just a halfhearted "meh." I found that I had another recipe for it in my library in David Lebovitz's The Sweet Life in Paris, but I couldn't muster enough enthusiasm to try making it. Most of the time, that would be enough to make me stop experimenting, but not with socca.
My latest attempt came about after I had the random thought of making waffles out of socca batter. I have no idea what made me think of it, but in the current climate of gluten free hysteria it was probably only a matter of time until a recipe idea using chickpea flour crossed my path again. It feels a little bit like any further attempts at socca are just me trying to make fetch happen, but I can't give up on it yet.
For the waffles, I returned to Ottolenghi's recipe again, despite my earlier disappointment, because of his non-traditional addition of egg whites to the batter, which I thought would provide some necessary loft in my waffles. I added in olive oil since most recipes call for it and the added fat would only be helpful in ensuring my socca came off of the waffle iron in one piece.
After some trial and error after which I spent 20 minutes scraping socca out of my waffle iron, I was pretty pleased with the results. Just be sure to liberally pre-grease your waffle iron and you will be left with airy, fluffy socca that can be garnished with traditional black pepper or my preference, drizzled with honey and sprinkled liberally with za'atar. They are delicious eaten hot right off the iron, but amazingly, these waffles are also excellent later as leftovers toasted under a broiler.
The socca experiments will continue, since I recently saw a link to a socca taco shell recipe that sent my brain spinning with possibilities. Also I'm currently accepting any and all offers for a sponsored research trip to Nice. Just call me Gretchen Wieners.
Adapted from Plenty.
1 3/4 cup chickpea flour
2 cups water
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil
2 egg whites
honey and za'atar
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Whisk together chickpea flour, water, salt, and olive oil until smooth, then let rest. Meanwhile, whist egg whites to soft peaks, then fold into the batter.
- Heat a waffle iron to high heat and when ready, liberally brush or spray with oil. This is important, because there isn't much fat in the batter and it will not be pretty if your socca sticks to the pan, trust me. Cook the socca until golden and crisp and transfer to a baking sheet. Keep socca warm in the oven until all waffles are cooked.
- At this point you can garnish with honey and za'atar or salt and pepper, or toast under the broiler for a couple minutes to get a more authentic char on the socca (although once you've waffled something perhaps authenticity has gone out the window). These are best eaten right away, but reheating in a 350 degree oven until crispy works well.