Simply the best and most delicious local snack you could possibly find in Nice, South of France. Wanna experience the most typical Niçoise way of life? Munch on Socca. Period. With your fingers of course, just tear large yummy pieces apart, no fork allowed.
Socca is the basic combination of chickpea flour, olive oil, water and salt. And once baked, it must be sprinkled with salt and black pepper. MUST. A bit of salt, and a lot of pepper actually.
In the Old Nice, for me the best place to eat socca is Lou Pilha Leva, a place which name is written in Nissart, the local Niçois language, and means something like “just grab it and take it away” – a sort of grab&go invitation. They bake the socca on huge round cast iron pans, directly inside a wood burning oven. When it comes out of the oven, it’s super hot, crispy and burnt on the edges, softer in the middle, and most importantly it must be eaten immediately when coming out from the oven. René Socca has an equally good reputation in the Old Nice, however in my opinion their socca is nowhere close to being good, let alone as good as at Lou Pilha Leva.
Tired of having socca cravings at no decent time of the day or night, and given that I don’t feel like riding the tramway every time I am hungry for it, I eventually have decided to make it myself at home. And OMG it is so easy that I am afraid I’d make some socca too often times now! But who cares? M’en bati, sieu Nissart! [I don’t care, I am Niçoise].
INGREDIENTS (for a 40cm large pan)
- 125 grams of chickpea flour
- 25 cl of cold water
- 6 tbsp of olive oil
- black pepper
- Preheat the oven at maximum temperature for 10 minutes.
- In a deep salad bowl, pour the cold water and start combining the chickpea flour with a hand-whisk.
- Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and a 1/2 tsp of salt.
- Whisk with energy to eliminate lumps.
- If the dough is too compact, add a bit more cold water.
- Directly on the oven baking tray with no baking sheet needed (or in a flat cast iron pan with low edges), pour the remaining 4 tbsp of olive oil and heat for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Be real careful now ; take the tray out of the oven and immediately pour the chickpea mixture onto it. Spread it evenly and quickly put it back in the oven at the highest possible point.
- Turn the oven on the grill position now.
- Bake for about 5 to 7 minutes until the edges are perfectly grilled and look crispy. In the middle, the socca crust must be golden to burnt here and there.
- When ready, take the socca out of the oven, and with a metal spatula, slice nice squares or other crazy shapes, it’s actually more traditional to cut uneven pieces.
- Serve on a plate, salt and pepper, and go for it with bare hands — in fact it is customary to burn the tip of your fingers with the first bites!
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2019 All Rights Reserved.