Results tagged socca from David Lebovitz

Sharjah Market

coconuts

I have a really dumb habit of always wearing flip-flops, or similar sandal-style shoes, then discovering that I have to do something really precarious a little while later. I remember scaling down rocky cliffs at beaches and almost killing myself, as well as assorted other idiocies attempted with rubber-clad feet. Really, it’s amazing I’m still alive.

market in Sharjah ripening dates

Like the flowing robes, sandals are part of the uniform in many Middle Eastern counties, so I took advantage of the warm weather (and freedom from packing all those socks), and donned sandals when we headed towards the market in the Emirate of Sharjah.

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Socca Recipe

When people come to Paris, they often ask me where they can find good bouillabaisse. And when I tell them, “You can’t”, they’re always very surprised.

“Well, isn’t it French?” they’ll reply.

adding olive oil rose

Yes, it is. But to get many of the regional specialties in France, you need to go to the region. Hence my frequent visits to Nice, to get socca at the fiery source.

And although you can make it at home, making it in a home oven is like baking off a batch of S’Mores in there: it’s close, but not exactly the real thing. You really do need a wood-fire to get that blistered crust. Still, after much experimentation, I got it close in my home oven and I now make it all the time to serve with an apéritif before dinner.

mixing socca batter

Socca is basically street food, intended to be eaten off napkins to blot up all the excess olive oil, with plastic cups of frosty-cool rosé.

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Panisses

While you might be familiar with the more famous “Panisse“, these are the real McCoy.

panisses

Panisses are made from chickpea flour and shaped into hockey puck-sized disks. Once firm, their texture is similar to cooled polenta, and they’re cut into elongated bars and fried in very hot olive oil until crisp on the outside.

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Nice

socca, pizza, pissaladiere, wine

If there’s anything nicer than taking a break and heading to the south of France, I can’t imagine what it could be right now. My first day in Nice, we ran from socca stand to socca stand, tasting as many as we could. Fortified, we hit the wonderful market in the old part of town to select our fixings for a lovely dinner.

socca

The way of life down here, and the cooking, are a world away from Paris. Generous bunches of basil find their way into pistou, which we pounded in the mortar and pestle until almost smooth.

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Socca, v1.0…v1.6…v1.9…

socca1.jpg

A reader recently inquired that her and her husband were planning to visit France and since he couldn’t tolerate any gluten, is there anything that I could recommend? She had attached a list of words in French for acceptable grains, like oatmeal and barley,

So I flipped through my French dictionary and looked under Special Dietary Needs, but there was a blank space. I didn’t know what to tell them. I was (almost) defeated. I finally recommended that they rent an apartment so they could do much of their own cooking and more importantly, they should frequent the same restaurants over and over so that staff got to know them.

Not many people, no matter where they’re from, are aware of which products have gluten. Even me.

Socca in Pan

For example, I didn’t know that most soy sauces had gluten, as well as many bottled salad dressings, malt vinegar, various mustards, processed meats, and even some toothpastes and lipstick. (I could certainly give up one, but not the other.) And apparently I’m not the only one unaware gluten-free lifestyles: Even my local health food store stocks their gluten-free bread, unwrapped, on the same shelves with the regular bread, crumbs mingling and all.

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