Socca, a gluten-free flatbread, also known as farinata and panisse is made throughout Western Europe as well as other places including Argentina and Algeria.
Socca is easy to make, only has three ingredients—chickpea flour, salt, and oil (water if you want to get technical) and requires no equipment – just a bowl and a whisk. It can be made over the stovetop in a pan or in the oven using a baking sheet. Here, we make it on the stove, with a thick batter that yields a softly textured, pliable flatbread.
Socca is an incredibly simple and quick flatbread to put together, which makes it an easy option for weeknight dinners. Conversely, it’s presentation once topped or paired with dips is elegant enough for entertaining.
The flavor is slightly reminiscent of chickpeas, but it doesn’t taste like beans. It’s very mild; you might not even know it was made from chickpeas if no one told you. The flavor of the olive oil will be prominent here, so a good quality olive oil goes a long way. This is a perfect recipe to have in your repertoire for any time you want to whip up a homemade bread without any hassle.
What is Chickpea Flour?
Chickpea flour, which is also known as garbanzo bean flour, is a whole food flour, which means it is only made with the flour name on the label—in this case, garbanzo beans.
Garbanzo beans are ground into a fine powder and packaged as a shelf stable product. Chickpea flour has a light yellow/beige color, and a fine, smooth feel. It’s available at health food stores, specialty stores, online, and in some big box grocers. It’s an inexpensive flour that costs just a few dollars per pound.
Tips and Tricks for Making Socca and Working with Chickpea Flour
While this is an easy recipe to make, following a few guidelines will help prevent any mishaps. Chickpea flour has no gluten and has no binding ability at all. It isn’t interchangeable with wheat flour and it is less absorbent than other gluten free flours such as rice flour.
- Let the batter sit for thirty minutes before cooking it so the chickpea flour can absorb the water. If you cut down on this time, the batter will be too runny to cook well.
- Season the socca batter aggressively. Too little salt will result in a bland flatbread.
- If you flip the socca over on the stovetop before it has the dark golden spots, you can cook it further on that first side again after the second side has cooked. The dark golden spots yield the best flavor.
- In terms of thickness, your socca should be thinner than a pancake but thicker than a crepe. A thinner, more crepe-like batter would yield a crispier socca.
- The amount of water will dictate how thick or thin your socca will come out: more water will yield a thinner and crispier flatbread, more crepe or cracker-like while less water will create a thicker, bread or pancake-like product.
Note, that this recipe is for a thicker, more pancake like socca. If you prefer to use the stovetop method for a thinner, crispier socca, you can add an additional 2-3 tablespoons of water, until the batter is more crepe like.
Socca Two Ways
Socca cooked on the stove will be different than socca baked in the oven. Our stovetop socca is thick enough to use as a sandwich bread or pizza crust, while socca baked in the oven firms up more and will be closer to a cracker. This holds true even if you use the thicker batter in the oven.
Stovetop Socca: When cooked on the stovetop socca is soft and can be used for sandwiches or the base for a pizza. Your socca will be delicious if made in a cast iron pan, although it is not a necessity. Using a non-stick pan to make your socca works just fine. You’ll want to avoid using a pan that isn’t non-stick, as the batter would be likely to stick to the pan.
Oven Socca: In the oven, socca will be much crisper and should be used more as a cracker. It is generally made on a flat baking sheet, which should either be greased well or lined with parchment. You can also use a large cast iron pan that is well seasoned. It is baked at 425 for 15 minutes. This version does not need to be flipped or covered during baking.
How to Serve Socca
This flatbread, cracker, pancake hybrid has so many uses! I love socca as a base for tuna or grilled cheese sandwiches, or as a vehicle for dips like hummus, pesto, or tapenade, and cut up into bite sized pieces and topped with assorted spreads, such as jam or chopped liver, as a passed appetizer.
Socca is best eaten the day it’s made. If you have leftovers, store them in the fridge in an airtight container and reheat before eating. Y
ou can reheat on the stovetop or in the oven. Reheat for 10 minutes on a baking sheet in a preheat 325 degree oven, or on the stovetop with a teaspoon of water added, on low, with a lid, rewarming for 2 minutes per side.
More Bread and Tortilla Recipes
- Homemade Flour Tortillas
- How to Make Naan
- Rosemary Focaccia
- Gluten-Free Banana Bread
- Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
Combine socca ingredients:
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chickpea flour, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and water. Whisk thoroughly until a smooth batter is formed.
If it is thicker than pancake batter, add more water one tablespoon at a time, until pancake batter consistency is reached. When you pull the whisk out of the batter, it should leave a thick ribbon.
Let the batter rest:
Let the batter rest for 30 minutes before cooking.
Heat nonstick skillet or cast iron:
Heat a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle pan with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
Cook the socca:
Once hot, using a measuring cup or ladle pour half of the socca batter into the pan, while simultaneously turning the pan in a circular motion to help the batter spread evenly.
Cook socca, until the top appears nearly set, about 2 minutes. Similar to pancakes, any bubbles that appeared should have set. There will be a visible firming on top at the edges, but no char spots on top.
Flip socca with a large metal spatula and continue to cook, about another minute. It should have some brown spots on both sides. Remove from the pan.
Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and cook the rest of the socca batter.
Socca is ready to serve as soon as it comes out of the pan. Keep it whole and top with pizza toppings, slice into triangles and serve with dip, or cut in half and fill with sandwich fixings.