Courtesy of www.wholeliving.com

Socializing and Socca Bread

I was recently reminded of how socially isolating Celiac Disease can be.  I attended a day long volunteering orientation during which a complimentary lunch of sub sandwiches and cookies was provided for attendees. I was not surprised by this, and, as usual, packed and brought a lunch from home. I am so far into this whole Celiac thing that I was not bothered by this at all.  The two women sitting closest to me at the orientation were curious as to why I brought own lunch when we knew ahead of time that a free lunch was going to be provided. I went through the whole, “I have Celiac Disease, so I get very sick if I eat gluten,” explanation for the umpteenth time. Again, not a big deal, and I am always happy to educate others about gluten-related illnesses.

When I finished my lunch I grabbed my phone to check my emails. The first 3 emails I read were the following:

1. An invitation to a spaghetti and garlic bread benefit dinner for a local homeless shelter.

2. A reminder that my upcoming book club is at a cheesecake restaurant (I have been there many times and there is nothing on the menu I can eat and no “carry ins” allowed).

3. A local running club invitation to an upcoming ”flatbread and beer” 5K fun run.

This string of emails was a quick wake-up call that those of us with Celiac Disease (1% of the population) are a small minority, that we truly live in a food-based culture, and a reminder that I used to take similar social events totally for granted back when I could attend them.

I fortunately, just this week, came across a recipe for socca bread, a French, chickpea flour-based flatbread which is similar to Italian farinata.  It is gluten free, dairy free, cheap, easy to make, and tastes great. I found the recipe on the website www.thekitchn.com. I used the oven method to make it, as I am ashamed to admit that I do not own a cast iron skllet, and I used Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour. I am not ashamed to admit that I ate the entire flatbread in less than a day!

Ingredients

1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) chickpea flour
1 cup (8 ounces) water
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional seasonings: 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano), 1-2 cloves minced garlic, 1/8-1/2 teaspoon spice (chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, za’atar)

Equipment

10-inch cast-iron skillet, pie tin, or other metal baking dish
Spatula
Knife

Instructions

Makes 1 thick 10″ pancake or 2 thin 10″ pancakes (recipe can be multiplied)

1. Prepare the Chickpea Batter – Whisk together the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl. Let rest for 1/2 hour to 2 hours to give the flour time to absorb the water.

2. Heat the Broiler and the Pan – Set an oven rack six inches below your oven’s broiler and turn on the broiler. Set a cast iron skillet or other baking dish on the rack to warm for five minutes.

3. Pour the Batter – Remove the skillet from the oven using oven mitts. Add a teaspoon or so of olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Whisk the chickpea batter quickly and then pour half into the hot skillet (or all if making a thicker pancake). Tilt the pan so the batter coats the entire surface of the pan.

4. Broil the Socca – Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until you see the top of the socca begin to blister and brown. If you find the top browning before the batter is fully set, move the skillet to a lower oven rack until done. The socca should be fairly flexible in the middle but crispy on the edges.

5. Slice and Serve – Use a spatula to work your way under the socca and ease it from the pan. Slice it into wedges or squares, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with a little good olive oil. Repeat with any remaining batter.

Socca is best if eaten immediately after baking while still warm, but can be refrigerated and re-toasted for up to a week.

Additional Notes:

To Bake in the Oven: Heat the oven to 450°F and pre-heat the baking dish for 5 minutes. Bake the socca for 8-10 minutes, until it’s cooked through, then run it under the broiler to blister the top.

To Bake on the Stove Top: Film a pan with oil and set over medium-high heat. Pour in the socca batter. After about 3 minutes when the edges are firm, gently lift the pancake and flip it. Cook on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes, until both surfaces are dry and beginning to brown.

I plan on making socca often, and sharing it with many. I may even have my own socca bread party so that I can actually socialize and eat at the same time. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Disclaimer: The socca bread which I made looked nowhere near as pretty as the socca bread photo which I found on www.wholeliving.com. Their website also has a few different recipes and suggestions for socca bread preparation.

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18 thoughts on “Socializing and Socca Bread

  1. Melinda

    Ya, I spent the race yesterday eating only gels and a banana while there were piles of pb&js, cookies, crackers, etc. piled up. Luckily there was some GF veggie soup at the end as I was starved by that point.

    1. Jess Post author

      Melinda,
      Thank goodness for there always being bananas at the end of races!
      Which gels are you using? I have been using Gu gels but am thinking about changing to Honey stingers….it may end up being a blog post, that not too many would probably read, but that’s okay!
      Looking forward to seeing you soon. Congratulations again on the 50K!!
      Jess

  2. Molly (Sprue Story)

    Everyone’s bubbling about socca recently! It’s one of my favorites, too, and I’ve made it all kinds of ways. Thin; thick; topped with spreads and veggies like a pizza; with leeks, garlic, sesame seeds, etc., baked right in; perfectly round; free-form; with mashed sweet potato or yogurt mixed in for extra crackeriness…endless possibilities! Sometimes we dip it into hummus for some chickpea-on-chickpea action. :)

    Anyway, I focused on the socca part of your post because that’s the more cheerful bit for me, but I just wanted to say I’ve noticed the same thing as you! Everything seems to revolve around food, and it always seems to be a pizza party or pasta dinner or cupcake sendoff…I just want to shoulder my way in and cater every event, not that I have the time for that. :)

    1. Jess Post author

      Hi Molly,
      You are lucky to have discovered socca bread so early on in your gluten free journey. I was diagnosed over 3 years ago and just learned of it last week! I am glad to hear that it works well with hummus too, I wasn’t too sure if it would be too “chickpea-ish” to do it that way. And making it into a pizza is pure genius!
      Also, your post today was fabulous and I am looking forward to others’ advice and experiences on the topic. I just left you a reply a few minutes ago on your page.
      Jess

      1. Molly (Sprue Story)

        Thank you for the nice words and the super thoughtful response on my post (I replied, btw). I do consider myself lucky to have found out about socca so early! The Kitchn recently posted a drool-worthy pizza-style socca perfect for spring that you might want to check out here.

        We’ve dipped it in garlic hummus, spread it with sun-dried tomato hummus, and also tried it topped with a white bean spread. Yes, it’s a lot of beans in one meal, but it’s delish!

        1. Jess Post author

          Thanks Molly! I think that I will now have to turn my first socca party into a socca pizza party. When I replied to your post I thought that I had clicked the button to be notified of replies via email (but I guess that I had not). Thank you! I will keep the discussion on your web page about that, or you can always email me at thepatientceliac@gmail.com too. The whole series of Ted talks are fanstastic, I watched most of them while running on a treadmill one afternoon.
          Anyway, I am glad to be “connected” with you on here and I think that your blog is a fantastic resource for those who are coping with Celiac Disease!
          Jess

  3. Vik

    Where are you guys finding chickpea flour? I have never seen it, andI must also admit, this is the first I’ve ever heard of this bread. Good share.

    And, agreed about the social aspect of gluten freedom….

    1. Jess Post author

      Hi Vik,
      I have been using Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour. Although there have been a few rumors on the internet that their products are not GF, they actually go to great lengths to minimize cross contamination and the only flours of theirs which I’ve ever had issues with are the mixes which have xanthan gum in them (I get digestive symptoms after eating anything with xanthan gum).
      Perhaps the socca bread parties will catch on in our Celiac world…I like how you used the term “gluten freedom.”
      Jess

        1. Molly (Sprue Story)

          I also love that you can “subscribe and save” to Bob’s Red Mill products on Amazon. You’ll find chickpea flour is considerable cheaper than either almond flour or coconut flour, so if you’re trying to make recipes with one flour only, in my opinion, chickpea is the way to go (for savory stuff anyway).

        2. Jess Post author

          Hi Vik,
          Thank you so much for the link to Stephanie’s blog….her post about BRM came at just the right time! I checked out her page and subscribed, it seems like a great resource and I am looking forward to following her page. The more of us who can share ideas, the better!

          And Molly, also, I appreciate the tip about ordering through Amazon. We are truly so fortunate to have the internet to help us through our gluten free lives.
          jess

  4. Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator

    Hey! Happy to find your blog, and to have the nice shoutout about my post… and a recipe to try for socca bread, which I have heard about but still not made. I can attest that anything that Bob’s Red Mill labels as GF is GF… they are insanely careful and I was super impressed.

    1. Jess Post author

      Hi Stephanie,
      Thanks so much for stopping by. I am really looking forward to following your page and am grateful that Vik suggested it to me. I just started looking through and saw your almond milk recipe, which I plan on trying out and sharing (am not dairy free yet, but dairy light and have been buying a lot of almond milk). Thank you for all of the recipes and information which you are sharing through your page. Looking forward to “talking” from time to time.
      Jess

  5. Cherish

    Thank you for posting this. (Don’t know how I missed it before.) One of my family’s favorite meals is gyros. They would love to pile all the stuff into pita and I usually omitted the pita and had ‘greek salad’. I’ve tried all kinds of replacements for the pita but haven’t managed anything that the kids like. I will have to give this a try…I bet they’ll be excited!

    1. Jess Post author

      Hi Cherish,
      I hope it works out for you and that your family enjoys it! It has been a great, easy, cheap food to add to our gluten free household. Let me know if you come across any other pita replacements!
      Jess

      1. Cherish

        Hi, Jess.

        I wanted to let you know I made this a couple of times. the first time, they didn’t fold over well and so didn’t work quite as well as I hoped for gyros. I tried again last night, but I used 2 1/2 cups garbanzo flour, 1/2 cup tapioca flour, and then 3 cups of water. They worked *really* well, and everyone was quite happy…even my younger son who only puts hummus on them, so I’m not sure why he cares if they fold or not anyway. ;-)

        1. Jess Post author

          Hi Cherish,
          Thanks for sharing your experience with the recipe. I haven’t tried to make it for a while, and we always have tapioca flour on hand for making Brazilian cheese bread (I’m dairy-light but my family is not). So, next time I make it I will try your method. I hope you are feeling well and that you all have a Merry Christmas!
          Jess

  6. Pingback: Post Christmas food frenzy: socca bread | FCIWYPSC

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