It was in Diano Marina in Liguria. The travel guidebook had recommended this little town as a charming not too crowded place … which it – to cut right through the chase – wasn’t at all: hordes of tourists hustling through the narrow streets wearing not much more than their bathing clothes, souvenir and tourist trap food shops on every corner … I guess you can imagine this kind of place, cause somehow these places are interchangeable all around the world!
And then, when we were already on our way back to the car, we came across a little farmer’s market and there it was where I ate my first farinata, a kind of savoury pancake made from chickpea flour. A glimpse of originality … which made me make my peace with this place.
It was a few years later that I came across this chickpea pancake/flatbread again – a bit further down the coast, in Nice, where it is called socca … and again was fascinated how simplicity and deliciousness can come together.
In holiday mood Lindsey brought this dish back to my mind – and since then socca has became a regular lunch meal this summer: Yummy, quick, no-fuss, open for variations – f.ex. this one with some sliced olives and fresh thyme thrown in.
Before I made my first socca, I read a few other recipes (f.ex. David Lebovitz’s) and I had to realize that the chickpea flour I had purchase was obviously more coarse than the one most of the other cooks wer using. My socca hence is less elastic and more crumbly. Perhaps I’ll watch out for some finer grind, but so long I am totally happy with my mediterranean flavoured summer socca that brings back holiday memories.
Speaking about holidays … this place will be quiet for the next two weeks, coming back after that probably with a whole lot of new impressions that of course will be shared 😉
Socca with olives and thyme (1-2 persons)
60 g chickpea flour, 140 ml water, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoons thyme, 5 black olives, olive oil, salt, freshly ground pepper
handful small tomatoes, ½ teaspoon thyme, sea salt, freshly ground pepper
In a small bowl whisk together chickpea flour, water and salt. The batter should be about pancake-thin. Cover bowl and let rest for at least an hour (better overnight in the fridge).
Put iron cast skillet in the oven and preheat oven to highest temperature (220°C +). Pit olives, slice them and add to the batter. Add 1 teaspoon of thyme as well as 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the batter. Once the oven is preheated, carefully remove skillet from oven. Grease iron cast skillet with one tablespoon olive oil. Pour batter into the skillet, bring back to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes until the edges are getting crisp and brown.
Meanwhile wash and halfen tomatoes, marinate them in a small bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, pepper and the remaining thyme.
Carefully remove socca from oven, drizzle or brush with some more olive oil, sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and cut or tear into smaller pieces. Serve warm with tomatoes or any other kind of quick summer salad.