Socca, a delicious street food from the south of France, more exactly Nice (in Switzerland, Nizza as the city is known in italian) is something I just recently discovered. I know, right? not while travelling in France, mind you, but living on the good old East Coast of the US. Which just goes to show that good food knows no boundaries.
“La socca de Nice, ou socca caouda, est un des plats les plus populaires de Nice semblable à une grande crêpe mais à base de farine de pois chiches et cuite au feu de bois.
A l’origine, c’était le plat du pauvre, bon marché et consistante.”
Basically saying: Nice’s ‘Socca’ is one of the most popular dishes from that region, resembling a big crêpe but made from chickpea flour and cooked over wood fire. Originating as poor folk’s dish, cheap and filling
Today, it is as much casual as it can be sophisticated, and a crowd pleaser at any dinner invite or potluck. Plus since it is naturally gluten free and vegan, can be served to most anyone. Best of all it is super easy to make but tastes incredible! Use a cast iron skillet for best results but I have also come across folks making it in a pie dish, during my internet research. Traditionally it is made on a large copper disk, over very high heat and in a very hot oven. As with most street food (I was going to say any, but the Malaysian Roti Canai might be the exception to the rule) it is easy to prepare and therefore I figured must be a good candidate for outdoor cooking.
I have even had success making this directly on the camp fire (since traditionally it is cuite au feu de bois, I had to) while camping but there are no pictures to prove it, so in this day and age, it never happened, lol. The one I did manage to get pictures of was made on my camp stove. And maybe here would be a good spot to apologize for the quality of some of the pics in this post, it was quite dark when I took them. Though I have to say, my headlamp functioned quite well as a backup flash for my cell phone, no?
You can make this easily in the oven at home, but since I had a little weekend away at a campfire planned, I decided to hone my socca making skills on a real fire. Maybe not entirely traditional, since much thicker than usual, but entirely too yummy not to share 🙂 I might post a more traditional version at some later time, we’ll see, but for camp fire cooking, this is taking it out of the hot dogs and smores category that often comes to mind when hearing ‘camping’. To make things extra easy, combine the flour, salt and pepper in a zip top bag before leaving and all you have to do is add the oil, water and rosemary at cooking time!
Here shown with beef and red pepper kebabs, a match made in heaven!
- 1 cup chick pea flour*
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 onion diced
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
*chickpea flour can be found at many health food stores or the gluten free section of your grocery store. But the cheapest way is to find an Indian grocer and get it there, it’s called ‘Besan’
- Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a 8″ cast iron skillet*, cook the onions until soft, turn down the heat and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until starting to brown and caramelize. Set aside return the skillet to the heat, and keep heating on medium high.
- Mix chick pea flour, water and 1 tsp salt, stirring with a whisk or fork until all lumps are gone. Set aside (you can make this and use it right away or set it aside for several hours, it’s all good)
- Over high heat, in the same skillet, heat the remaining oil, then pour in the batter. After cooking for one minute, sprinkle the top evenly with the cooked onions and rosemary, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt, then cover with a lid until cooked through and the top is set about 5-7 minutes. Serve hot as a side to roasted meat or eat on its own.
* If you have a 10″ or larger skillet, the result will be thinner and take less time cooking.
The setting during the day…
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