Enhance your Socca
How to make socca, also known as farinata.
There’s more to this post than a recipe. A top tip!
Socca is cooked like a crêpe, so there must be no sticking to the pan. Rather than replacing my old non-stick pan (which is now sticking) with a new pan, I thought I’d try a reusable non-stick baking sheet which I recently saw while shopping. I bought the Wizbake made locally in South Africa, but there must be many other similar products around the world. The British Lakeland seems to do the same thing. I was able to cut out the right circle size for the pan and it worked very well for frying too. It can be used for temperatures up to 260 deg C (500 deg F).
When you fry socca, the oil needs to be sufficient enough to bubble around the edges and the holes in the middle. So the one problem I found with this reusable sheet method was that the oil got underneath between the bottom of the pan and the sheet. This oil got very hot and started smoking a bit after I’d fried a few socca, which was a bit alarming. Then I found that the trick was to fry it first on the sheet and then flip it over without the sheet straight onto the pan. The second side didn’t stick to the pan because it was already half cooked. Things went very well after that got sorted.
Something that does bother me a bit about cooking socca is the use of olive oil for cooking at such a high temperature. It was once said that extra virgin olive oil at high temperatures was toxic. While looking for info today, I found that things are a bit different now – not so toxic after all! Not being one for testing the actual cooking temperature at any given time, I was quite relieved to see this. The taste of olive oil is so integral to the taste of socca, that changing the cooking oil to a *safer* oil is not really an option. I found this website which sums it up quite well: Science or Not
To my knowledge, I have never eaten socca anywhere other than what I’ve made. When I first discovered it, I liked the idea of using besan instead of wheat flour as one would when making pizza. I found the traditional recipe a bit bland though, so I added a few more tastes like garlic, olives and fresh rosemary, which make it stand out in a crowd. I’ve also grated parmesan on top once it’s ready to eat, but I didn’t find it added to the taste much, and the texture didn’t seem right.
This recipe has the taste of pizza but without the naughty things!
- 30 ml extra virgin olive oil for frying (2 tbsp)
- 160 ml water (2/3 cup)
- 160 g chickpea flour (besan) (2/3 cup)
- 10 small pitted calamata olives
- 2 finely chopped cloves garlic
- 15 g finely chopped fresh rosemary (1 tbsp)
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- salt to taste
- Whisk together all the ingredients with 5 ml (1 tsp) of the olive oil and let the mixture stand for at least half an hour before frying.
- Heat the rest of the olive oil before adding the mixture. The oil must be hot enough to cook the socca quickly and crisp the edges. I add a bit more olive oil every time I fry a new socca.
- Traditionally the fried socca get crisped in an oven, but I usually can't wait that long to eat them! They keep well in the fridge, so one can grill them quickly in the oven before serving.Cut it like you would a pizza.I made 4 socca with this mixture amount, but it's easy to adapt. Just keep the chickpea flour and water a one-to-one ratio.