The Story of Socca

At the start of the second millennium BC, Phoenician sailors exported chickpeas throughout the mediterranean lands, from Lebanon to Morocco and Spain. It was thus that chickpeas – and the flour – came to arrive in the region around Nice, where such dishes became widespread.

So it’s four thousand years since chickpea preparations became widespread throughout the Mediterranean!

Prior to cooking, preparations of chickpea flour, water, seasoning, and  olive oil are mixed together to form a thin batter which is then poured into  a  pre-heated, oiled socca  pan, and placed in a very hot oven to cook. This process gives us:
Farinata in Liguria,
Ceccina in Tuscany,
Faine in Sardinia,
Torta di Cheggi in Corsica,
Cade in Toulon,
And of course the celebrated Socca in Nice.

marchande-socca

Since the 17th century, the citizens of Nice have developed socca in their own unique way. They poured the dough (or batter) in a thin layer on large, oiled copper dish to conduct heat well, which was then baked in a hot oven – giving the dish we know today.  Socca  is crispy due the high temperature at which it’s cooked, and slightly smoky due to the pine or olive wood used in the oven. Socca’s real flavour comes out best when eaten straight from the oven with a little pepper.

Other preparations based on chickpea flour give delicious dishes such as:

Panisse in Nice and Provence

Calentica (also known as Karane, Kalenti, Karantika or Kalint) in Algeria

Garantita in Spain

Panelles in Sicily

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