Soccas South American Style

soccayum.jpg Some time back on the Celiac Bay Area yahoo group , there was a buzz around a new restaurant called “Socca Oven” that opened in Berkeley, California. A chef in the area had opened a sister restaurant to his flagship restaurant Gregoire- but the best part was that everything at this new restaurant was gluten free! The concept was based on the French Socca, “a local speciality of southeastern French cuisine, particularly in and around the city of Nice. It is very similar to the northern Italian farinata, as its primary ingredients are chickpea flour and olive oil.” (Source: Wikipedia) This crepe type flatbread is naturally gluten free, healthy, and friendly to the low carb diet. The restaurant also catered to dairy free dining, with no dairy toppings. We were all excited to try the restaurant, which turned out to be located in a small gourmet food court with outdoor dining. Reports came back- most of us loved the socca crepe itself, although some of the toppings left a little something to be desired. Personally, I tried the rather bland bay scallop topping and the vegetable topping, which was topped with Aioli, a mayonnaise type of sauce. Despite my ambivalence towards the toppings, I loved the chance to eat a gluten free pizza hot out of the brick oven at a real, live restaurant. I was greatly anticipating trying other toppings, such as the favorably reviewed salt cod topping, when the restaurant abruptly closed. Luckily in the meantime, members of the Celiac Bay group had been experimenting with making their own soccas, with delicious results. GlutenFreebytheBay came up with an especially delicious version of the socca, and blogged about it. After making my own, I found that I loved the easy to make chickpea crepe topped with delicious hummus, roasted vegetables, and kalamata olives. This layering of chickpea on chickpea creates a high energy, high protein powerhouse dish that is extremely tasty and satisfying. Ever since the socca has been part of my cooking repertoire. The other day I was reading though a recent issue of Cooking light magazine, and came across a recipe for a wheat flatbread topped with a black bean spread. Of course, their flatbread recipe was out- but it occurred to me that a chickpea socca just might work with a tasty black bean topping. So, I got busy with my cast iron pan. These (modified) recipes are the delicious results. The best part is that this recipe is very flexible and easily dairy and egg free. For a dairy free socca, I recommend adding avocados and pine nuts for a truly luxurious dish. Enjoy!

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Black Bean Parsley Topping
Black Bean Sauce:
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 15 oz can low sodium black beans (OR 2 cups homemade black beans, well rinsed)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (with or without green chilies)
1 or 2 chipotle chilies, deseeded, in GF adobe sauce (read label!)

Good with the following “pizza” toppings:
1 red bell pepper (or 1/2 jar roasted red peppers)
kalamata olives, sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or other sharp cheese (optional)
1/2 cup canned fiesta style corn(optional)
1/2 chopped avocado (optional)
1/4 cup pine nuts or pumpkin seeds

Cilantro Parsley drizzle:
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (you can change proportions of herbs to taste- I used way less soap, I mean cilantro, than parsley)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp minced garlic

Blend black bean sauce ingredients in food processor or blender.

To prepare Red Bell Pepper for toppings: broil red peppers (or roast over open flame until charred on all sides), then place in thick plastic bag (freezer quality) for about 10 minutes. Remove skin, then slice or chop (depending on your taste) and reserve.

To make “pizza”, select pizza crust of your choice. I used a chickpea socca because it is so thin and crispy. I seasoned it with cumin seeds and marjoram. I removed it from the oven after 10 minutes rather than the usual 12 minutes, and topped it with a layer of black bean sauce. I then placed any toppings which taste good hot- the optional cheese, red pepper, kalamata olives, pine nuts, and put it back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted. Put under broiler for a minute or so if desired. (Watch that the socca doesn’t burn!) After you take it out of the oven, drizzle some of the Cilantro Parsley vinagrette on it, any other cold toppings such as avocado, cut, and serve. Enjoy!

Celiacbayarea Group Soccas
1 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 diced onion
freshly ground pepper
Additional olive oil

For South American flavor:
1 tsp marjoram or oregano
1/2 tsp cumin seed

For Mediterranean flavor:
minced fresh rosemary (needles from 1 stick)

Heat cast iron pan in oven set to 450 degrees.

Mix bean flour with salt, whisk in warm water and olive oil. Let the
batter sit for at least 30 minutes, then add diced
onion, freshly ground pepper to taste and seasonings (minced rosemary OR marjoram and cumin ETC). Whisk one more time.

Dribble a small amount of olive oil in hot cast iron pan and spread
around to cover using basting brush. Pour about half the batter in
pan. Swirl the pan so the “Crepe” covers the entire surface of the
pan. Make sure it’s not too thick- the thinner the better! Place cast
iron pan back in oven for 12-15 minutes and edges are crisp but not
burnt. Remove from oven, separate crepe from pan with a metal spatula (so it’s easy to remove later), baste top lightly with olive oil and place any toppings you’d like to have heated- place under broiler for about 3 minutes, watching closely to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Cut into triangles with a pizza cutter and enjoy. If toppings make it
messy, fold over the triangle to eat. Yum! I’d give it a 10/10, it was
that good. DH gave it a 7/10, saying it was good for a socca. (Soccas
aren’t totally his thing).

Example of toppings:
I basted the socca with olive oil and put some kale on top and
broiled it until the kale wilted. Then I took it out of the oven and
topped it with homemade hummus, sliced black olives, and chopped
organic tomatoes. Totally yummy. For the second one I added pine nuts
and fresh basil. Next time I’ll try it with basil or sundried tomato

Or, you could do a traditional “pizza” with veggies, meat, and even
cheese. Basically, the sky is the limit.

On a GF board I’m on ( people have been experimenting with making soccas, a French “pizza” made from chickpea flour. This recipe would probably be great for diabetics or anyone doing low carb diets- and is egg, soy, and dairy free as well.
I was heavily influenced by GlutenFreeBytheBay’s post. Her blog entry about the socca experience can be found here:

I love her hummus topping! The woman’s a culinary genius, I tell ya.

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13 Responses to “Soccas South American Style”

  1. Oh, this looks just delicious! Great job with coming up with more variety for the socca. I am moving on 4/29 and trying to get rid of all my dried goods so I don’t have to ship them… I have some garbanzo flour I need to use up and some black beans soaking as we speak. So this just might become dinner one of these nights.

  2. Gradually, I’ve moved closer to making glutenfreebythebay’s recipe for socca. Now, with your reminder, it will zoom to the top of my list. Thanks for the reminder! It looks scrumptious!

  3. I am so curious to try looks wonderful. Bean I come!

  4. [...] In the search for Gluten Free Dining, you occasionally find gluten free Utopias in the most unexpected places. Thinking about gluten free dining always reminds me of two of the first restaurants I really dared to eat out in as a college student- Old Wives’ Tales in Portland Oregon, and the now dearly departed Creative Vegetarian Cafe in Boulder, Colorado. Although these two latter restaurants were not entirely gluten free, they were very ingredient conscious and offered many safe, delicious options that I was incredibly grateful for. They also were vegetarian or flexitarian (Old Wives’ Tales) which was ideal for me, when many gluten free restaurants or menu items overcompensate by the lack of gluten with hunks of meat or chicken that just doesn’t do it for me. But we’ve come a long way since my college days, baby. Now, I don’t have to fantasize about somewhere where I can eat EVERY SINGLE thing on the menu- there are actually specialty cafes and restaurants that offer 100% gluten free menus with both savory and sweet items. Finding Deby’s gluten free cafe in Denver, Colorado thrilled me. (And she now has branches in Erie and Wyoming!) Finding not one but two gluten free cafes in Seattle, Davinchi Cafe and Bakery and Sunny Valley Wheat Free also thrilled me. And of course I was ecstatic about The Farmer’s Kitchen Cafe in Davis, California. But imagine my surprise when I found that there was a restaurant with many, many gluten free options that wasn’t even marketed as a gluten free restaurant.. I first heard about this unique, Berkeley native raw foods vegan restaurant called Cafe Gratitude through a CeliacBayArea message board on Yahoo, and was thrilled to find that only a few items contained any gluten in the form of soy sauce. I immediately dragged a skeptical DH over to Berkeley and we enjoyed Chickpea Soccas at the nearby Socca Oven (which has since gone out of business, but which provided much inspiration to us gluten free folks to make our own delicious soccas) and then had a delightful vegan dessert at Cafe Gratitude. DH had their “key lime pie”- um, i mean “I AM AWAKENING key lime pie – Creamy key lime custard with coconut meringue in a macadamia crust,” and I ordered that always off limits Italian tease, tiramisu, also known on the menu as “I AM ADORING live tiramisu – Raw cacao and almond tiramisu cake with sweet cashew cream and raw chocolate espresso filling.” It was good, oh yes, it was good. I don’t like lime pie, but if I had, i’m sure I would have adored DH’s dessert. And I definitely adore cashew cream and raw chocolate espresso filling. Mmmmm… Who needs those nasty gluten cookies, anyway? We also had an “I AM LOVED latte with steamed almond milk” which was cold pressed- it was an experience, but I am very particular about my coffee and think nothing beats a hot steamer wand and “Real” espresso. Some time back, there was a slight disturbance in the gluten free community when some members went to Cafe Gratitude, were mistakenly informed some dishes were gluten free, and experienced a “glutening”- I.e. got a bit sick after eating there. Concerned members contacted the owners of Cafe Gratitude. Here’s the coolest part- the owners actually decided to make the whole menu completely gluten free so nothing like that would ever happen again. Given the muted presence of gluten in their menu anyway, it mostly involved switching soy sauce brands- and suddenly, a good largely gluten free restaurant became a FABULOUS ENTIRELY GLUTEN FREE dining establishment. So take that, all you evil corporate restaurants that refuse to serve me and my GF friends gluten free anything- I don’t need you after all, because locally owned establishments are willing to go to a little effort on our behalf. pfffft. One small step for the gluten free, one giant leap for mankind- oops, am I making too big a deal of this? I don’t care, I was thrilled. But despite all the happy dancing going on over here at my home in Mountain View, I’m ashamed to say we didn’t manage to make it all the way over to Berkeley to partake in the Gluten free delights UNTIL this weekend, when I decided to go on a three part, gluten free delights QUEST- facilitated by the fact that I successfully (fingers crossed) finished the bulk of my coursework in my third year of my PhD program. Stop one was Cafe Gratitude. [...]

  5. [...] I made French Socca, a French Chickpea Crepe Flatbread the other night for dinner, and topped it with a caramelized onion, artichoke heart, tomato, and calamata olive mixture. It was delicious, but I ended up with half of a can of artichoke hearts left over. I wasn’t sure what to do with them until I caught sight of the thriving basil plant on my patio. How about an artichoke heart, basil pesto using something other than pine nuts… something like… pecans? And so a recipe was born. I wanted something light and summery, with less calories than the typical pesto, so cutting out the cheese and limiting the oil made sense. I used two tablespoons of sweet, fruity, locally produced olive oil and somehow that was just enough. Even DH, who isn’t ordinarily a huge fan of pesto, enjoyed this light, summery dish. I paired it with some chilled Celestial Seasonings Tea, A variation onSouthern Fried Tofu, and leftover chilled Roasted Chili Garlic Broccoli. To me, nothing says summer like the sweet, piquant flavor of basil pesto. It would be perfect paired with a classic fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil leaf salad. If you thought pesto was off limits due to dairy intolerance or calorie concerns, think again! Pesto can be as light and allergen friendly as you like. [...]

  6. [...] When I read that the gluten free menu swap ingredient of the week was apple, I started considering possibilities. Apples are one of our favorite snacks, whether they be crisp organic fuji apples eaten fresh with a slice of havarti, or slow baked apples seasoned with cinnamon and sugar in pie, or baked in Chebe turnovers. But somehow, I was in the mood for a savory apple treat. And, what is more savory than the savory, delicious French socca chickpea crepe? I first discovered socca in Japan, and then furthered my acquaintance with them in the short-lived Berkeley Socca Oven. When Socca Oven closed their doors, those of us at CeliacBayArea Yahoo group were determined to keep socca on the menu in our own homes. But, it was ByTheBay’s post of an especially delicious socca recipe that ensured the socca’s regular place in my house. In addition to my old standby topping of hummus, olives and fresh veggies, I developed a socca with a south american spicy bean topping. Now, here’s a fresh new take on the socca, this time garnished with tangy, delightful goats cheese, sweet apples, and crunchy pecans. How do you like your socca? [...]

  7. [...] whole grain bread recipes? Try Adeena’s Gluten-Free Rosemary Teff Dinner Roll Recipe or my South American Socca Recipe or this Apple Onion Fetta Socca Recipe Or my Allergen-free Buckwheat Crepe [...]

  8. [...] corn derivative AND potato, both of which I’m currently avoiding), it occurred to me that the french crepe/flatbread recipe socca doesn’t contain any eggs at all, and still tastes lovely. It is based in high protein [...]

  9. What brand of garbanzo bean/chickpea flour do you use/recommend?

  10. [...] at NoelleLikesGoodFood adopted me at the Book of Yum and made Soccas South American Style. Recipe: Soccas South American Style Rachel the Crispy Cook adopted Kristina of No Gluten Required and made a batch of her gluten-free [...]

  11. [...] quiche crust, I’ve tried my hand at socca (here’s a great recipe for a yummy socca pizza), and nothing has been just what I was looking [...]

  12. [...] quiche crust, I’ve tried my hand at socca (here’s a great recipe for a yummy socca pizza), and nothing has been just what I was looking [...]

  13. [...] adds: This recipe reminds me of my South American Socca recipe using a black bean sauce. Yum. I just love black beans… Can’t wait to have some [...]

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