Socca

Socca

By
From
Best Kitchen Basics
Serves
4
Photographer
Petrina Tinslay

I first came across this recipe via the writings of a Niçois native, M. Alain Ducasse, where he served it with some irony to the well-heeled customers of his restaurant, Louis XV. Nice has flip-flopped over history under the flags of France and Italy, so it is no surprise to find this type of preparation is found all the way down the coast to Sicily, where it is known as panella. In Tuscany, it is known as cecina (torta di ceci or farinata), and it is a pizza-shaped snack served with different toppings like pizza. It’s also a traditional food from Pisa and Livorno, which you can also find in many other cities of the Tyrrhenian coast. In La Spezia it’s called farinata and in Savona, fainà. All are made the same way with perhaps slightly different ratios of besan (chickpea flour), olive oil and water. Mine has the addition of yeast to give it a fluffier texture. Not traditional but that is how cuisine rolls, ever changing, morphing and adapting.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
5g fresh yeast
100ml warm water
90g besan, (chickpea flour)
2g salt
3 teaspoons olive oil
butter, for brushing
virgin olive oil, for drizzling
sea salt flakes, to garnish
thyme sprigs, to garnish

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C .
  2. In a bowl, mix together the fresh yeast, warm water, besan and 1 teaspoon of the olive oil with a hand-held blender. Once the yeast is incorporated into the mixture, blend in the salt. Cover the bowl and place it in a warm spot for 1 hour.
  3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a small cast-iron frying pan over medium–high heat. Once the pan is hot, use a small ladle to pour in the socca mixture. Cook for 1–2 minutes until the bottom is caramelised. Flip the socca over and brush the top with butter.
  4. Transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven for 5 minutes to cook through. Serve immediately, sprinkled with a little virgin olive oil and some sea salt flakes and garnished with thyme sprigs.
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