Socca flatbreads with caramelised onions, brussels sprouts and hummus
( MAKES 2-3 pizzas )
Photo by Tam West
Socca flatbreads are a traditionally flat bread served in Nice, France. They are naturally gluten free and packed with protein, plus they are really easy to make. Some recipes say you can make up the socca batter and cook it straight away but as chickpeas can be a little hard to digest for some people I like to leave it to sit overnight with a few tablespoons of coconut yoghurt or apple cider vinegar to help the flour ferment a little and increase its digestibility. Then I keep it in the fridge to use that evening for a super-quick flatbread pizza meal.
You can top your socca with anything you desire, as you would a pizza — this one is a delightful combination of hummus, caramelised onions, olives, cavolo nero and shredded brussels sprouts, topped with an incredible cashew blue cheese that Crescent Cashew Nut Cheese makes (available at Huckleberry).
If you want to have it plain, (as it is traditionally served), finish with flaky salt and chilli flakes. The key to dishes with chickpea flour is to cook at a reasonably high heat until crispy and be sure to eat it freshly made, as it cools down it will become a lot more dense and not nearly as delicious as when it’s hot out of the pan or a wood-fired oven.
For the socca base
|1 cup||Besan (chickpea flour)|
|1||Garlic clove, peeled and very finely chopped|
|1 Tbsp||Chopped rosemary, or thyme|
|1 Tbsp||Olive oil|
|1 Tbsp||Coconut yoghurt, or 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, optional|
|1 dash||Olive oil, or coconut oil, for cooking|
- Place all the socca ingredients in a bowl and mix until you have a smooth batter. Season with a few pinches of salt and cover and leave overnight, or for a minimum of two hours, to ferment. You can then use straight away or leave it in the fridge until dinner time. The batter is reasonably thick, a little thicker than a pancake mixture.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a standard cast iron frying pan to a medium/high heat, then pour in a third of the batter and cook for around 5 minutes until it forms a crisp golden crust. Drizzle with a little more oil and flip, cook for a further 2 minutes until cooked through.
- Remove from the pan and top generously with the hummus, followed by the rest of the ingredients, in the order listed. After topping, you can finish your socca flatbreads in the oven at around 240C for a few minutes to give you a pizza-like experience. If you try my topping, the hummus tastes delicious when warmed and the cavolo nero goes all lovely and crispy in the oven, so it’s worth giving it a little blast in the oven before serving.
- Traditionally socca is cooked in a pizza pan or dish in the oven at a really high heat — you could try this method and cook under a very hot grill for 5-7 minutes until cooked, then remove from the oven and serve sprinkled with flaky salt and chilli flakes. I have had great success with using the pan and find it easy to get a consistent result.
- I used Ceres Organics chickpea flour in this recipe; it is a little coarser than regular chickpea flour and results in a nice bready texture that isn’t overly dense.