Socca (chickpea flour flatbread)

December 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm (breakfast, Fall recipes, Italian, Spring recipes, unrated, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

I bought a big bag of chickpea flour (called besan in India) over a year ago, used it once in a recipe, and then didn’t touch it again.  I decided it’s been sitting long enough, so I went searching for recipes that called for chickpea flour.  The obvious first recipe to try was socca, a simple flatbread made from chickpea flour, olive oil, and liberal amounts of salt and pepper.  I actually had a version of socca a few years ago at a bakery in Florence, but there they call it Torta di Ceci. (In other parts of Italy they often call it Farinata).  Whatever the name, despite the rave reviews online, the version I got at the bakery in Florence had a somewhat odd texture (more creamy than crisp) and not all that much flavor.  Maybe a homemade version would be better.  I used Mark Bittman’s recipe on the New York Times website.

I followed the recipe except that I don’t have a 12-inch cast iron skillet so I used my 9-inch skillet and didn’t put in all the batter.  I added the onions and a bit of dried rosemary (1/2? tsp), since I didn’t have any fresh rosemary.  I used kosher salt.

The socca came out crisp around the edges and soft and creamy in the middle.  It was quite salty and oily, and the rosemary flavor was quite noticeable.  I liked the pieces of onion a lot, although next time I think I might try putting them in the pan while it’s heating up rather than adding them to the dough. The chickpea flour doesn’t seem to have a very distinctive taste—it’s essentially just a carrier for salt and pepper and olive oil.  Overall, the socca was tasty, but it’s quite rich for just an appetizer or side dish.  I’m not sure how I would incorporate it into a meal.  Derek thought it would go nicely with a mediterranean stew.

The next day I cooked up the rest of the batter, but I didn’t add much oil to the pan–just a very thin layer.  The socca didn’t get as crisp, and Derek said the texture wasn’t as good.


  1. spoons said,

    Ha! Funny that you post this, since we made socca for my birthday in 2008 and 2010! We served it as an appetizer with tomato onion jam. I think of it as half cracker and half flatbread, and not really pancake at all.

    One thing about Bittman’s recipe: it calls for a ridiculous amount of pepper… and I like it that way. The fact that you only mention the pepper off-handedly makes me think that you didn’t put enough in. 🙂

    • captious said,

      I actually did put in a huge amount of pepper, and it was definitely very prominent. Was it enough? That I can’t say.

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