Socca (chickpea flatbread) with cherry tomato salad, crisp sausage & aioli

by leah

These flatbreads are French/Italian/Mediterranean and as it goes with most things from that region, completely delicious. Socca is the French name for them, I believe they make a version in Italy called Farinata. Whatever. In my kitchen they are called delicious and that’s what matters. I am totally into making different kinds of doughs and flatbreads at the moment and socca certainly doesn’t deviate from that pattern.

These are bone achingly simple to make and quite impressive. I love the nutty denseness of chickpea flour, it seems so much more substantial than ordinary flour. These are usually made in a very hot outdoor oven, so they are charred and blackened on the edges – the broiler/grill does a good job of replicating it but I imagine it doesn’t come close to the real thing.

Batter
1 part water, 1 part chickpea flour (by volume) – each 15cm flatbread takes about 1/4 cup of flour so adjust your recipe accordingly.

Additionally, for each flatbread you’ll need to add:

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/8th teaspoon (or a pinch) of table salt
Extra Olive oil for frying.

You’ll need fry pan or griddle you can stick under the grill for this recipe. So no wooden or plastic handles please.

Salad
Equal parts cherry tomatoes (quartered) and celery (cut into similar sized chunks)
Squeeze of lemon & some salt. I leave the oil off this as we have lots of oily stuff in the other parts of the recipe – seems superfluous to add more.

Sausage
I use a linguica sausage, but my Australian readers can use a Spanish chorizo which I have found to be exactly the same. This is nice without the sausage too for all you vegos out there!

Aioli
1/4 cup mayo (find my recipe here, otherwise good quality mayo from the jar will do)
1 clove garlic, minced finely.

Method:
As early as you can remember, combine all the batter ingredients in a bowl to make a smooth goo and set aside. This batter is better if it’s left to sit for a couple of hours. Though I always forget and it doesn’t seem to matter too much that I make it only 20 minutes before hand.

Such a great colour, no?

Just before you want to start cooking, combine the salad ingredients and slice the sausage. Add the garlic to your mayo to make the aioli.

Turn the broiler/grill onto high heat, and heat the frypan. Splosh a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of the pan and pour a thin layer of the batter in.

Once it’s sealed on the bottom, stick the whole pan under the grill till the pancake browns and blackens. Don’t leave it alone or you’ll be greeted with a smoky chickpea aroma and if you are lucky, a really loud smoke alarm going off – I can’t pretend it hasn’t happened to me. Repeat till the batter is all used. Set the socca aside somewhere warm and crisp the sausage in a little bit more olive oil in the same pan (saves on washing up!) Pile it all onto a plate and the aioli on the side. Best eaten with your hands somewhere sunny.