Chickpea Socca with Mushrooms and Chard

Have you ever had a socca?

If you have, then you likely love it as much as I do. If you haven’t, listen up because this is a must-eat dish.

Picture a swarthier take on a crêpe that’s at once charred, nutty, and a tinge smoky, and you’ve pretty much got it. The socca hails from the South of France though it came about back when the Côte d’Azur was Italian territory. To this day, a very similar dish is made across the border in Genoa, but the Italians call it a farinata  or a cecina.

Semantics aside, the basic concept is the same: whisk together an olive oil and chickpea batter, pour it in a pizza pan or cast iron pan, then place it in a wood-fire oven or over an outdoor grill. The key is to cook just long enough that it gets charred on the edges yet still a bit soft in the middle. I’ve taken to making it in a cast iron pan in a hot oven, so that I can have it anytime of year, no matter the weather.

Traditionally, the socca is served as a snack straight from the pan, with a cold beer or a glass of wine to wash it down. While it’s fabulous that way, I’ve taken to stacking on an assortment of toppings to make it more of a meal. Seeing as I’ve already bastardized the recipe by adding toppings, I’m going to take credit where none is due and proclaim you free to top it with nothing or anything that you desire.

If you’re lucky enough to already have spring available, swap out the chard and mushrooms below for something seasonal. Maybe try it topped with some Prosciutto and broiled asparagus, some marinated fennel and arugula, or a dollop of minted  pea puree and ricotta.

But before I go on an even longer tangent, let’s get back to the recipe so you can try it for yourself, with or without anything you please.

Whole Chickpea Socca Recipe

Socca with Balsamic Mushrooms and Wilted Chard Recipe

  • Makes: 3 (7-inch) socca  // 4 to 6 servings
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Hands-On Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the mushrooms:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 whole small peeled garlic cloves, lightly smashed
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • For the socca:
  • For the chard:
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 whole small peeled garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces Swiss chard, tough stems discarded and leaves thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • Plain Greek yogurt or fresh goat cheese (chèvre), for serving

Instructions

  • For the mushrooms:

Heat oil and garlic in a large frying pan over medium heat until garlic is golden brown and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add oil mixture to mushrooms, stir to coat, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then set aside to let cool to room temperature.

When cool, add vinegar, taste, and adjust seasoning as desired. Stir in parsley just before serving. (Can be made up (without the parsley) to 4 days ahead of time. Store refrigerated in an airtight container.)

  • For the socca batter:

Heat oven to 450°F, arrange rack in the upper third and put a cast-iron skillet or pizza pan in the oven while it heats up. Meanwhile, make the batter.

Place flour, salt, and paprika in a large bowl and whisk briefly to break up any lumps. While whisking, pour in water, and mix until smooth. Cover and let sit for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the greens. (You can let it sit for up to 24 hours before using.)

  • For the chard:

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the red onion and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Add the pine nuts and garlic and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chard, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook, stirring until just wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in currants, and set aside until ready to serve.

  • To cook the socca:

Take the hot pan out of the oven and carefully pour in 1 tablespoon of oil. Swirl to coat. Add 1 cup of the batter and then bake until golden brown on edge and bottom, about 10 minutes.

Take the pan out of the oven, and carefully flip the socca then let it sit for a minute or two to brown. Slide socca onto a cutting board and cut into quarters. Repeat to make 2 more. (If you have multiple cast iron pans or pizza pans, you can cook them at the same time.)

To serve, divide top each socca wedge with a few tablespoons of greens, a spoonful of mushrooms, and a dollop of yogurt or chèvre. Plan on serving 2 to 3 wedges per person.


Lunch // Dinner Meatless Recipes