Many of the best gluten-free foods are those that are meant to be. When serving a crowd, rather than baking a cake and substituting the flour, I’ll make a meringue pavlova that has none to begin with. Everyone is happy, and no one thinks about missing gluten. Socca is one of those recipes. The naturally gluten-free chickpea flatbread is crispy on the outside, a bit custardy on the inside, and wholly unforgettable. It came to us by way of Nice in the South of France, where it is traditionally served sprinkled with sea salt in wedges to eat with your hands. This might be my favorite way to eat it, but socca is entirely versatile as a canvas for any number of spices or toppings. A restaurant I love in the city serves it alongside a delicious ratatouille.
It is incredibly easy to make – the base of the recipe is simply equal parts water and chickpea flour. From there, you can add more or less water, making it thin and flexible or thicker and cake-like. Socca is perfect for a cast iron pan, though any skillet will yield tasty results. Just make sure you eat it hot, fresh from the oven.
Socca (Chickpea Flatbread)
Makes 4 servings
• 1 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
• 1 cup water
• 1 tbsp + 1.5 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tsp salt
• 12″ skillet (preferably cast iron)
1. Mix the chickpea flour, water, 1 tbsp of olive oil, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until the batter is smooth, there should be no lumps.
2. Cover the bowl with a paper towel, set aside and let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
3. While the batter is resting, heat the oven to 450ºF.
4. When the batter is almost ready, pour the remaining 1.5 tbsp of olive oil into the skillet, then heat it in the oven for 2-3 minutes.
5. Remove the skillet from the oven and pour in the batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the top is crisp and beginning to blister. Watch closely so that it doesn’t burn.
6. Sprinkle with additional salt and cut into wedges to serve.