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When people come to Paris, they ask me where who makes the best cassoulet or where can they find bouillabaisse. When I tell them, “Those aren’t really available here.”  “Well, aren’t they French?” they’ll reply.

adding olive oil rose

Yes, they are indeed. But to get the best examples of regional specialties in France, you need to go to the region they’re from. Hence my frequent visits to Nice, to get socca at the source.

The good news is that you can also 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 quite the real thing. But after much experimentation, I get it pretty close in my home oven and now I make it often to serve with an apéritif before dinner.

mixing socca batter

The quality of the chickpea flour, also called garbanzo flour, is important. Fortunately with so many gluten-free people and recipes out there, it’s much easier to find than it used to be. You should be able to find one that is finely milled; it should almost resemble regular flour, but between yellow and beige-colored. Chickpea flour that you find in Middle Eastern, Turkish, or Indian food shops tends to be coarsely ground, and I find that doesn’t work as well as the finely-ground chickpea flour. So do try to get that.

The batter comes together quickly but should rest a few hours before using it. A nice pour of good olive oil is obligatory and a little dusting of ground cumin, while not authentic, adds a touch of smokiness, to give it a taste as if it just came out of a wood-fired oven.

Socca is meant to be in rough shards, eaten with your fingers, and is especially good after a long day on a sun-saturated beach when your skin is tingling with sand and you can lick your lips and taste the sand of the Mediterranean. Of course, a glass of iced rosé is the perfect accompaniment, no matter where you are!

Socca

Adapted from Drinking French
  • 1 cup (130g) chickpea flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (280ml) water
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • freshly-ground black pepper, plus additional sea salt and olive oil for serving
  • Mix together the flour, water, salt, cumin, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Let batter rest at least 2 hours, covered, at room temperature.
  • To cook, heat the broiler in your oven. Oil a 9- or 10-inch (23cm) pan with the remaining olive oil and heat the pan in the oven.
  • Once the pan and the oven are blazing-hot, pour enough batter into the pan to cover the bottom, swirl it around, then pop it back in the oven.
  • Bake until the socca is firm and beginning to blister and burn. The exact time will depend on your broiler.
  • Slide the socca out of the pan onto a cutting board, slice into pieces, then shower it with coarse salt and pepper.
  • Cook the remaining socca batter the same way, adding a touch more oil to the pan between each one.

Drinking French

Related Links and Posts

Chickpea Flour (Amazon)

Chickpea Flour (Bob’s Red Mill)

Nice

The Best Socca in Nice

Socca, v1.0…v1.6..v1.9…

Panisses

Nice and the Côte d’Azur


72 comments

    • vidya

    David,
    Thanks for the lovely recipe.Is this the same as farinata in italy? It was one of the most memorable things I had ever eaten in my whole life..

    • Whitney

    I love the picture of the woman consulting your book!

    I made my first batch of ice cream yesterday and of course used the ice cream bible “The Perfect Scoop” as my guide. :)

    • Heather

    This looks like a great snack for cocktails with my friends. Can’t wait to give it a try. Enjoy your time away!

    • Kim – Easy French Food

    How come I always feel like I live under a rock when I read your posts David? 17 years in France and I’ve never heard of this! Have to say it looks like cardboard. Where do you find chickpea flour?

      • Fran Lorant-Moore

      Kim, I must have been under the same rock as you. I am Greek and never heard the word Socca but found Garbanza Beans at Kroger in Shreveport, LA. Just made my own Chickpea flour of dumping a Lb. pkg. in my VitaMix blender-click and it was ground up beautifully to use tomorrow

    • Kim

    Oops. See you even gave that info. Don’t think we have such a thing as a whole food market out here en banlieue, but I’ll look in one of those Maghreb epiceries – I bet I’ll find it there.

    • Susan

    If you cook this under the broiler, how do you cook it over a wood fire? Do you turn it to cook both sides? Going to a cookout, and would like to know..Thanks!

    • Linda

    aaah, farinata- one of the things i miss most about living in italy. we too found it necessary to drive out of piemonte where we lived and into liguria to find proper farinata- i have to say i like the genovese style of throwing on a bit of rosemarino. and of course there is the debate of origin- socca=nizza, farinata=liguria…

    • sarah ahmed

    typo – besan (or gram flour), not besam. thanks.

    • Susan

    Ooops! Woodburning OVEN, not fire. Sorry, didn’t read carefully enough! Probably doable over fire though with a castiron skillet and lid. Hmmm.

    • Laura Flowers

    Getting tired of the city huh? It was only a matter or time. One can only take so much beauty I suppose.

    Nice photographs by the way. I enjoyed them.

    Laura

    • krysalia

    the texture of the batter seems fantastic :)

    • Emma

    David – thank you, thank you!! I was in Nice for three days in May and ended up eating Socca every day because I loved it so much (and figured that I should cram as much of it in me as I could just in case I never got back there again!). I’ve been craving it ever since so I can’t tell you how pleased I am that you’ve put up the recipe. Guess that’s my weekend sorted now! Thanks again!

    • sandy

    “Indian shops carry besam”
    David, it’s Besan. If anyone’s interested, you could try the Swad brand. I find it the best.
    I love Tricia’s hands.

    • SavvyChristine

    Enfin is right! I love naturally gluten-free recipes. And while chickpea flour isn’t my favorite, crepes certainly are. I’ll have to try that added bit of cumin. Thanks!

    • The Duo Dishes

    And all this time we only knew about the soca with one c…Caribbean music that is. We learn something new every day.

    • Dawn in CA

    Wonderful post, beautiful photos. I felt like I was right there with you… which might have been a little awkward considering we’ve never met (“Daveed, who ees zat leetle Americaine woman?” “Oh, don’t mind her, she’s one of my blog readers. More wine, anyone?”)

    I think the link to Tricia’s website may be one letter off. Is this the right one?

    http://www.tasteofprovence.com/

    Have a wonderful time sailing — what a charmed life. :)

    • chika

    Hello David – hope you are back from your absence and reading this! :)

    Socca, to me, speaks so much of Nice, where I had my first ever (and sadly, last so far) socca. I had it at an open-air market in town, sold straight off a wood-fired oven. It was one of my fond moments there. A looooong time ago though!

    Sadly it’s really hard to find chickpea flour in Tokyo… I’ve heard you can make your own by grinding dried chickpeas in the food processor etc. but never actually got around trying it. It seems easier to fly to Nice, well, almost…

    You guys have fun there!

    • michaela

    i can’t wait to try this recipe and can’t wait to head to france in the late summer.

    • Simran

    In India, we make a besan chila – it’s cooked on a skillet, pancake style and has a lot more oil than what you would add in a socca. Actually, my mom would make it with ghee (clarified butter).

    All I’d say is – if you get back from that sailing trip, try it!

    • Tovah @ Gluten-Free Bay

    This looks fabulous !

    • Diana

    I love chickpeas and so am sure I’ll love something made with chickpea flour. I will definitely be trying this!

    • Diana

    I love chickpeas and so am sure I’ll love something made with chickpea flour. I will definitely be trying this!

    • lisaiscooking

    Well, one more reason I need to get your book.

    • Warda

    Hope you’re enjoying la cote d’Azur, David!

    Socca reminds so much of what we have in Algeria and what is called: Karentika! Chickpea flour is the main ingredient of this beloved street food, but compared to socca, which is more rustic, karentika it is more like a thin custard, with a caramelized top, a silky heart and slightly crunchy bottom. It is also seasoned with plenty of cumin and served sandwiched in a crusty baguette. Un vrai delice!

    • AngAK

    wine “Marseille style”—love it! I must remember this and use the phrase next time I ask for rose with ice—waiters turn their noses up when I order this, but I will now no longer be embarrassed.

    • Kate Kent

    Fantastic! I have been eating socca in Nice today with the obliglatory ice cold rose and followed with Fenocchio ice cream … can’t wait to get home and try making it myself. Thanks for the recipe and entertaining blog,
    Kate

    • MJ

    You won’t be the first or last to sail away and not come back, if indeed you can leave Paris and live incognito as a wharf rat. But I’m betting you’ll be ready for Parisian civilization sooner than later…

    Chickpea flour is also used in roti in the Caribbean…yummy that too.

    • Victoria

    If I decide to go savoury in the fall, this wil be on the menu!

    • Bernadette

    Ice in the rosé, excellent! Sounds like a terrific vacation!

    • Aparna

    Except for the olive oil, socca sounds exctly like a south Indian pancake called a “dosa”.
    We spice our pancakes a bit by spluttering some mustard seeds, the cumin, a bit of asafetida and some curry leaves in a little oil and add it to the batter along with finely chopped ginger and green chillies.
    Our pancakes are made on a cast iron griddle.

    • hanna

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe…and now on to finding chickpea flour in Seoul!

    • Eralda

    Looks delicious. Thanks for sharing this. I have recently ordered The perfect scoop and a brand new ice cream maker. Can’t wait.

    • Julialuli

    Love this…I discovered a recipe similar to this during the winter, but it was the Italian version. I guess only because it had chopped fresh rosemary in it…smells divine when it is cooking. We love it because it is gluten-free! I will try the wicked hot oven. None of the recipes I studied talked about that and I know it will make a difference. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    • Erin from Long Island

    Thank you for this! I have been making a lot of Indian recipes lately and have chickpea flour….lucky me! Since my broiler is part of my oven, how close should i set the rack to the heat? And should I do it on low or high? Thanks! Dont forget your sunblock!!!!

    • SUZANNE VADNAIS

    HI DAVID,

    RE: SOCCA ….SO WHICH ONE IS THE BEST ? MARK BITMAN’S OR YOURS ??

    • Lb

    In Britain we call it footba…

    Sorry.

    The Indian emporium in my city has chickpea flour, I think I might this recipe a whirl.

    • Jan

    I was pleasantly surprised to find Swad brand besan herre in the Virgin Islands! Thanks to everyone for other recipe suggestions on what to do with it. I had fabulous authentic socca in Antibes a couple years ago but with no wood oven in sight nor broiler in my oven, I’m afraid homemade won’t quite be the same. Besides, when you fire up that oven in your sailboat, it is beastly hot. I look forward to trying anyway. Thanks! Sail away (but keep blogging)!

    • Carolyn

    Can’t wait to try this! Can you give me a rough estimate for how long under the broiler? 3 mins? 20 mins? I understand it will depend on my broiler, but I don’t know if I need to begin checking immediately, or this takes awhile.

    Thanks!

    • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    One of my favorite episodes of The French Chef featured Julia Child wandering through the market in Nice, and filming the socca being made on a cast-iron griddle. The image has stayed with me ever since — there was such vitality about it!

    • Denise, There’s a Newf in My Soup

    David,
    I love your blog – it’s such an inspiration. Would also enjoying seeing the sunset sailing photos!

    • foodcreate

    “The Perfect Scoop ” is my guide !

    Thanks for sharing ~~~

    http://foodcreate.com

    Cheers!

    • christy b

    Just finished reading your book and loved every minute of it! Now, I can’t wait to start cooking. Socca and your dulce de leche brownies are on the menu for the weekend.

    Thanks for sharing your passion, your humor and your amazing recipes with us.

    • Claudia

    So, where do you find the good bouillabaisse? You started with that and I was looking for your recipe. It would be nice with the socca in Nice. We’re building a wood-burining pizza/bread/socca oven, so it will be fun to try. Thanks

    • Terri Takacs

    Hi David!
    Your new book is a DELIGHT! I had the most wonderful of afternoons yesterday ~ thanks to you!
    Please read my latest entry for 6-18-09 ~ “The Sweet Life In Paris” at
    http://lavenderbetweenthecracks.blogspot.com/

    I also posted a recipe from your blog with a link to you.
    (Please let me know if you prefer I remove it)
    Thanks for such a great read!
    Terri

    • Joi

    I’ve been wanted to try a socca recipe for a year!
    I’m glad I waited that long, because I think your recipe will be the “go to”.
    I’m the only “freak” in my neighborhood that has chickpea flour and you can eat only so many panisse (again thanks to you) and besan ladoo.

    • cherie

    Just returned from Nice. Had the best Socca. Asked for a fork and knife, was laughed at. Ate it with both hands. Left very happy:)

    • lo

    Ah, that crust.
    I can just smell the wood-fired oven, and I’m drooling.

    • Charissa

    I have slow internet here and this post SCARED me. I thought the first picture was of your hand and I thought, “WHAT has happened to David?!?!?!” Hope you are wearing sunscreen!

    • Kalyn

    Looks delicious, great post! I’m definitely going to try your method. I made farinata, but mine came out more like a cracker than a chewy crepe, although they were delicious! I think the chickpea flour here is different too, but I’ll try to find some imported variety.

    • Jen Laceda

    I’ve never heard of socca…until now, that is.

    • Cesar

    In Argentina there is a similar preparation called faina, is similar to the Genoese Fainé.
    It is eaten with the pizza.

    • Sondha

    This is yummo! I can’t wait to get your book.

    Just curious if you’re going to go the eBook way, eventually, with your books?

    • Diva

    Here in Tuscany it is called Cecina. Adore it!

    when you come to Florence we will have it at a wine bar i adore.. they cut it into triangles, put a slathering of truffle butter, then a slice of prosciutto and roll it up and serve on a bed of arugula!

    All we need is the Rose’!

    • Diane

    This is similar to an Indian dosa-like thing I often make for breakfast. It consists of chickpea flour, water, salt, turmeric, chili powder, cumin, and sometimes ginger or cilantro, or tomato – what have you. It has no oil in the batter, but is fried on a tava with a bit of oil or ghee. Heaven!

    To the person who cannot find it in Tokyo – I am 100% sure that if you can find an Indian or Pakistani grocery they will have it. It is called “besan” there, but is the same thing – chickpea flour. There must be at least one Indian grocery in all of Tokyo.

    • Steve

    I’ve just started following your blog and find it fascinating. I made the socca (both under the broiler and on a gas barbecue) for a dinner party and it disappeared before I could bring the next one out. I look forward to other tips you provide. It’s always nice to hear what life is like in Paris.

    • Steve G

    I wish I could remember where I found it, but I bought some smoked chickpea flour at an ethnic market somewhere here in the bay area. I think it was Mexican.

    I’m thinking 1/4 smoked flour and 3/4 normal chickpea flour might approximate the scent of the smoke in a wood-fired oven…

    Naturally, I’ve been meaning to use it for over a year now, so it’s probably a bit stale :(

    • martina

    I found two other Socca recipes online and added ideas from those recipes to yours. I found garbanzo/fava bean flour from Bob’s RedMill. Didn’t see any plain out garbanzo flour. Using Nana’s 80 year old cast iron skillet-perfect! Cumin added to skillet just before putting batter in each time-excellent! My fella barging in and adding mozzarella and rolling socca-dreadful. I’m going to make it again -for girlfriends-and have goat cheese on hand. Definitely socca is better flat and the sharpness of a smidgen of goat cheese will be good.

    • martina

    The socca was cooked on the stovetop-medium high heat. I was to chicken with first attempt to use broiler. Was worried about burning the socca. Will use broiler next time.

    • Dana Mccauley

    Yum – this ingredient combo sounds like it would be good with a beer, too.

    • Maia Demorest

    Bless you — I adore Socca and never found a recipe that did the trick. And if you still haven’t managed to find a guide to Indian groceries in Paris (I know, it’s been a while since you made that comment), I’m a regular at La Chapelle/Gare du nord, can cook some mean Indian food. I’d be happy to give a fellow ‘merican a guided tour…AND I’ll tell you what Dishny’s best dish is!

    • Megh

    I can never get the Indian “chilla” right. A sort of pancake made of besan or chickpea flour. I am better at baking though. Btw, just made your Devil’s Foodcake for the nth time.

    • emily

    David,
    After seeing you tweeting about this today, to Kalyn’s Kitchen, I knew I had to try it. Unfortunately, the dinky apartment I’m in disabled the broil option on the oven, so I cooked it at 550 for almost 15 minutes. I don’t know if I didn’t grease the pan well enough, but it came apart when trying to pan it out. It wasn’t “crispy” either – but I’m not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to be?

    Annnnyway, it’s still delicious. The olive oil, salt and pepper on top finish off the chickpea flavor beautifully. I will be making this many many more times!

    • Kimberly

    Hey David,

    What is the texture of the socca supposed to be like? Mine came out soft and crepe-like (which was delicious), but I’m wondering if I should leave it under the broiler longer and let it get crispy.

    • David L.

    Kimberly: As mentioned in the last step, if you can cook it so the top is crisp, that’s the way I like it best. (Although I’ve had to both soft and extra-crispy in Nice.)

    Emily: Socca is meant to be served in crumbled shards, so it sounds perfect!

    • Denise

    David,
    I made your incredible Socca for our Coronado Concerts in the Park Culinary Challenge – Taste of Provence, and I am in love with these crispy crepes! We did the oven method and then cooked them on the grill at the park, pouring the batter into a cast iron pan and then flipping the crepe onto a pizza stone to brown the other side. Amazing! My mom also made your Gâteau aux carrottes. Thank you for these two recipes! Of course, I linked back to you!

    • Evy

    Hi David,
    Does the batter really need to rest for 2 hours? What will change, if I don’t do that?
    I was looking for recipes for my backpacking trip and I thought that this would be perfect without the 2 hours resting time. I would need to cook it in a pan on a camp stove, of course.
    Thanks.

    • David

    The resting allows the flour and liquid to meld. I always let it rest so I don’t know how it behaves if you don’t–Perhaps try making a batch at home and seeing how it turns out before your trip, without letting the batter sit or letting it sit less. Or on your trip, make the batter, pitch your tent and unpack, then fry them off!

    • Liana

    I finally made this last night with besan, and it was amazing. Used an old cast-iron griddle under an electric broiler. They puffed up wildly in the oven (to deflate on cooling), and were very thin and delicate—I must’ve poured the batter thinner, or mine was runnier, because this amount made about twice as many socca. I too think it’d be great with a tiny bit of toasted rosemary, or maybe just rosemary olive oil. I let the batter sit for about 8 hours (due to morning enthusiasm and midday laziness rather than any intelligent design); I think that letting it rest a short while gives the flour granules time to absorb some of the liquid so it won’t be too grainy? Anyway, thanks so much for the perfect recipe!

    • R

    Oh dear, I don’t know if anybody can answer this question as this is quite an old entry, but I’ll try anyway. I bookmarked this page a while ago, and finally decided I’d make it as I came across “chickpea flour” in a health store. To my horror though, I opened the bag of flour and found that it doesn’t look like the chickpea flour I imagined it to be. It wasn’t a shade of pale yellow- it was a warm, musty grey with flakes of black. I looked at the package to see if I’d bought the wrong thing, but it said “chickpea flour”. I’m going to try doing it anyway, (it’s sitting on my kitchen counter) but my hopes aren’t too high… My question is this- does anyone have any idea what exactly this flour may be? As I mentioned above, it’s rather grey, a ruddy grey, if it helps, with flecks of dark brown/black. Please Help!! I don’t know what I’ll do with a kilogram of that… :(

    • Margaret

    I wish I’d found your recipe first — I just tried to make socca from a NYT recipe and they added olive oil instead of water. The batter didn’t come out like heavy cream like the recipe said it would — oh well….will add water and hope for the best.

A

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