Socca with Zucchini and Olives

Bonjour, mes amis! I hope that you’ve had a wonderful week of cooking. This week, we are heading to the south of France for a light, bright summer apéro. Socca is a large galette or pancake made with chickpea flour. Socca originated in Italy (Italians call it farinata or torta di ceci). It spread from Italy to southern France and is a common site throughout Provence – and particularly in Nice.

Fresh zucchini and olives tossed in a lemony vinaigrette make this version one of my personal favorites. Chives and oregano add a bright floral taste to the topping while a bit of ricotta salata adds a surprisingly and all together enjoyable salty note to the final dish.

A bountiful harvest of zucchini (courgette in French) is one of summer’s great pleasures. And what of its great dilemmas. Sautéd, baked, fried, made into bread and muffins, shaved and tossed in a vinaigrette for a summer salad – I mean, there are only so many ways to use up those lovely squash. So here’s one more! Best of all, it’s fast and light. Just want you want on a hot summer evening.

Socca is very easy to make, and this recipe is undoubtably an ideal place to begin if you haven’t made it before. As always, I offer a cautionary reminder that every stove and oven is different. The recipe suggests that the pancake should cook for 12 minutes. However, I find that I need to add a few extra minutes to get the lightly browned edges that are the hallmark of a well-baked farinata. Always rely on your senses and knowledge of your own kitchen to guide you.

And now, chers lecteurs, without delay – Justin Chapple’s Socca with Zucchini and Olives.

Socca with zucchini and olives

Socca à la courgette

Socca with Zucchini and Olives
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine French
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Canola oil for brushing
  • 1 small zucchini shaved lengthwise with a mandoline
  • 1 small yellow squash shaved lengthwise with a mandoline
  • cup pitted Niçoise or kalamata olives chopped
  • cup sliced (in to ¼ to ½ inch pieces) chives
  • 1 ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • Shredded ricotta salata for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Place a 12-inch cast-iron skillet in preheated oven; let heat 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl until completely smooth, about 30 seconds. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully remove hot skillet from oven; lightly brush skillet with canola oil. Pour flour mixture into prepared skillet. Return to oven, and bake at 450°F until socca is set and lightly browned around edges, about 12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, toss together zucchini, yellow squash, olives, chives, lemon juice, remaining 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl until well combined. Set aside until ready to serve.
  • Invert socca onto a clean work surface. Top with zucchini mixture, leaving 1-inch border; sprinkle with oregano, and garnish with ricotta salata. Cut into 8 slices. Serve immediately.

Notes

Source: Chef Justin Chapple (Food & Wine, July 2022)
Note: Although the recipe calls for a cast-iron skillet, I find that it works equally well with an oven-safe nonstick skillet. I use Hexclad, which browned the socca nicely and was a dream to clean up.