French Fridays with Dorie – Socca from Vieux Nice
I get irritated when my blissful ignorance of “#trending” what-nots gets interrupted by sudden awareness. I get uncomfortable learning that I am the last to know about the “party”. I then must wonder what else I am the last to know know about while also simultaneously considering whether it might just as well be better to not know. Is ignorance bliss in certain circumstances? Depending on the party, I sometimes prefer it to the angst of wondering why I wasn’t invited in the first place.
Besides, who has the time to take up new communal obsessions anyways? Every new adoption for the sake of inclusion means that something else must get neglected and suffer for it. My general policy is to “just say no” but then there is that nagging feeling of non-inclusion I know I must deal with and traditionally that has not been my strong suit.
As an example, recently it seemed as if I was the only person in the world who who had so far managed to have never heard of “Game of Thrones”. Then one certain episode came along and had everyone here at work crowing and tittering, and even “oh my god”-ing in every hallway all the while shaking their heads in some sort of knowing agreement with each other. Their appreciation for what they just seen was the secret handshake entitling them to entry into a club I was not only not a member of but one I had never heard of. Why had I not been asked to join? Where was I when membership was considered? My work mates had now shared something special together and were forever bonded by it.
It would take the binge-watching of three entire seasons to join this club, something I clearly don’t have the time for but I oh so want to belong I must find a way to make it happen. I wished I never heard of it!
Among this week’s other #trending discoveries I previously knew nothing about (in addition to my cousin’s wedding just a few days ago and only 10 minutes away) is the dish featured here: socca. Socca is a thin, unleavened flat pancake type bread made from chickpea flour. Evidently it is quite ubiquitous along the Mediterranean coast from Vieux Nice (where Dorie derives this version’s title to Pisa. It is eaten mostly as a street food type snack but it is also perfect for tearing off a piece to eat while you sip an afternoon glass of wine.
Everyone I have been asking the last few days already seems to know quite a bit about it. Why didn’t I?
Its surprising to me since I have been to the region many, many times over the years and can’t explain how this whole socca thing has passed me by unnoticed. Given how much I am being told about it from everyone here my ignorance seems akin to spending a week in Rome and then only finding out years later it is a Catholic Country. There has been a whole socca party going on in Nice but nobody thought enough to invite me or tell me about it.
I wonder if my cousin knew about this as well?
My socca cherry got popped just two weeks by Trix over at TastyTrix.com when she posted her beautifully photographed Socca Pizza with Arugula Pea Pesto, Yellow Tomatoes and Ricotta . Yes, she was gentle and her socca looked quite appealin
g seductively laid out to entice but I had never even heard of it before! A quick wiki-search to get the down and dirty brought me up to speed and then suddenly, everywhere I turned ,I saw socca referenced. It was very, very weird. (The experience was a lot like when you someone close to your life is pregnant and then suddenly everywhere you turn you see pregnant women. Where were they all just last week?)
There it was on the menu of my favorite new hot restaurant, socca suddenly appeared not once but twice in one day on the rss feed of my favorite culinary web-site, and there again I was confronted with it on Instagram. That night socca was even referenced on a PBS travel show I only watch when I don’t have to catch up on another obsession of mine, True Blood.
Imagine my surprise yesterday to had look up this week’s French Friday with Dorie assignment and saw it yet again! Socca! My surprise felt a lot like it would to go online and see your cousin’s wedding photos taken just one day previously.
We aren’t entitled to k
now everything in this world. However, the universe will often conspire to reveal to you those certain things you either somehow stupidly missed or were otherwise deprived of. For me, socca is one of those things and I intend to binge eat them for awhile as I plow through three seasons of Game of Thrones and pick out some nice gift from my cousin’s Williams Sonoma bridal registry to buy for ME.
And while I am enjoying making socca here at home I also know that someday I will be going back to Nice and give them grief for not insisting I get invited to this socca party they have been throwing there all these years.
Can you pass the pepper?
This is what you will need:
- 1 cup chickpea or garbanzo flour
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil. An infused olive oil is nice here as well.
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped chives or fresh rosemary (or both)?
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
This is how you make it:
- Heat a hot oven to 500 degrees and put either two 8 inch round cake pans or one large 12 inch non stick pizza pan in the oven to preheat them. (A well seasoned cast iron pan will work well too but you will be making them one at a time if you do this.)
- Combine the chick pea flour, water, olive oil, and salt in a bowl and and whisk until all the lumps are out of it and the mixture resembles a nice cream. Cover the batter and let stand for 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. (Let batter come down to room temperature before cooking if you kept it standing overnight.)
- When ready to cook, remove pans from oven and put two tablespoons of olive oil in each pan, swirl to coat the bottoms evenly, and then return pans to oven to heat the oil for 2 minutes.
- Remove the pans to your stove top or counter and our in one half the batter to each pan if using cake pans or pour out two pancakes onto the single pan and bake for 5-10 minutes until the pancake is set and the edges are firm. Dorie’s recipe calls for 5 minutes but I found that my socca needed closer to 8 before setting nicely.
- Turn on the broiler and run the socca under it for 3-5 minutes so the socca can brown up to your preferences. If your socca looks dry you can lightly brush the top with olive oil before putting under the broiler.
- Serve hot with pepper or any topping you wish. Here we tried it with a white bean hummus flavored with black olive tapenade.