SOCCA, BLACK PEPPER + ROSÉ IN PLASTIC CUPS

The Cours Saleya is one of the liveliest areas of Old Town in Nice. We often head to this vibrant district to immerse ourselves in the sensual feast of its bustling flower, fruit and vegetable markets, and when we visit we always stop for socca at Thereza’s stall.

by Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen

Socca is a type of pancake that is made from chickpea flour and traces its origins to medieval Italy. It remains a heritage food along the Ligurian coast to this day and there is nothing quite like ambling around the market with a mouthful of Thereza’s socca to give you a true taste of French conviviality.

On a recent visit to Old Town we happened to run into Laura Green, a South African who came to France to walk the Camino Frances in remembrance of 32 people who battled cancer. This inspirational woman uses the platform to raise funds in support of the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and documents the entire experience on her blog, Conversations with Rose. Read more about her quest here.

Jan Hendrik’s fool-proof socca recipe

While we do recommend that you put a visit to the Cours Selaya market on your bucket list so you can experience Thereza’s socca for yourself, you can of course try it at home first. Here is our recipe – rustle up a batch, splash some summery rosé in plastic cups and recreate the experience in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Makes 3–4 (23 cm) pancakes

Difficulty: Easy

Preparation time: 5 minutes + 2–3 hours resting

Cooking time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 150 g chickpea flour

  • 250 ml water

  • 20 ml fine sea salt
  • pinch ground cumin
  • 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

  1. In a large bowl, mix the chickpea flour, water, salt and cumin with the olive oil.
  2. Whisk until all the ingredients comes together. Allow the batter to rest at room temperature for 2–3 hours, covered.
  3. Preheat the grill in your oven. Place a cast-iron pan under the grill for a few minutes until boiling hot.
  4. Remove and pour in just enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan. Give it a swirl and return to the oven.
  5. Bake until firm and a bit of burn starts to happen on the top.
  6. Remove from the pan and repeat with the rest of the batter.
  7. Slice into pieces and sprinkle with black pepper, salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

Originally published 23 June 2016