This weekend the team will be racing the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, a three-day race that brings riders to the stunning Alpes-Maritimes department of France. Featuring glittering coastal towns and alpine ski resorts, it’s long been a popular region for international visitors. With travel currently limited, however, we’ve found a way for the rest of us to get a taste of this remarkable part of the world without leaving home.
We’ve got a recipe for socca, one of the quintessential street foods of the region. Socca is a thin chickpea pancake with crunchy edges and a soft interior. Typically, it’s lightly charred over a fire on a large round plate or griddle. It’s chopped into large pieces and served warm on street corners. If you’re nowhere near a street corner in southern France, however, you can still get a taste of this quintessential snack in your own home.
Our recipe for this traditional flatbread is about as simple as it gets: chickpea flour, olive oil, water and seasoning. Socca is high in protein, and it also happens to be both gluten free and vegan. It’s a recipe that’s easy to make, tastes delightful, and won’t break any new year’s resolutions.
Note: Try to find a chickpea flour that is finely milled. The texture should be similar to regular wheat flour and it should have a yellow/beige color.
1 cup chickpea flour (120g)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary (optional)
1 cup warm water
4 tablespoons olive oil + more for serving
In a large bowl, stir together chickpea flour, pepper, salt and minced rosemary, if using. (If you have other herbs or spices you’d like try adding, now’s the time.)
Slowly add warm water and 2 tbsp olive oil, whisking well to get rid of any lumps of dry flour.
Cover the bowl and allow the batter to rest for at least one hour. It should have a very pourable consistency.
Once your batter has been resting for at least an hour, place a heavy 12-inch oven-proof skillet (cast iron is best) in your oven and preheat to 450°F (230°C).
Remove the preheated skillet from the oven. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the hot pan and swirl or brush to coat the bottom of the pan. Pour all of the batter into the hot pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the pancake has firmed up and the edges are beginning to brown.
Now remove the skillet from the oven, brush the socca with the remaining tablespoon of oil, and turn your oven’s broiler. Slide the socca back into the oven, just a few inches below the broiler, for a few minutes, until it is covered in lots of nice golden brown spots. Cut into wedges or tear into pieces, drizzle with more olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and serve hot. Socca is often served as an appetizer with cheese, olives, and a glass of rosé.
So if you’re craving a taste of the world outside your front door, take a minute to “travel” with us to France’s Alpes-Maritimes region. Wear a pair of boat shoes, pour a glass of rose, snack on some Socca and olives, and pretend you’re here for a bike race in the sunny Alpes-Maritimes.
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