Made with chickpea flour, socca is a delicious gluten-free pizza crust option.
I can tell you to the day the first time I had socca: June 13, 1993.
Socca – also known as Farinata, Torta di Ceci or Cecina – is a thin pancake made with chickpea flour, olive oil and salt. It originated in Genoa, Italy but is popular throughout the Northern Italian and Southern French coasts.
Back in 1993, I was backpacking with two friends through Europe for five weeks (and keeping a daily journal – thank god I did as I’m not remembering much these days) We were definitely roughing it back then, staying in youth hostels, sleeping on trains and carrying everything on our backs. After taking an overnight train from Geneva to Nice, we arrived to the luxury and the sunny coast of the French Riveria.
We stumbled onto a gorgeous farmer’s market and there was a woman making “La Socca” in a big skillet over a large charcoal heated tin drum. We all sampled it and thought it was the most delicious thing we had tasted in weeks. I didn’t take many food photos on this trip (mind you, this is WAY before smart phones, Facebook, or hell, THE INTERNET) but as you can see, I did capture that foodie moment.#GlutenFree: Socca Pizza (made with chickpea flour) with Shrimp + Leeks @tspbasil Click To Tweet
It’s always been in the back of my mind to recreate it and I figured it would make a delicious gluten-free pizza crust, too. (As did Abby of Abby Langer Nutrition who posted her Chickpea Flour Pizza Crust a few days ago – be sure to check out her topping ideas!)
Chickpea flour is fairly easy to find these days – look for it in the natural or gluten-free section of your supermarket. Or you can buy it online – it’s also called garbanzo bean flour. Bonus: it’s one of the least expensive flours out there.
Pros to making socca pizza:
- Gluten-free if you can’t eat regular pizza crust
- Good source of protein and fiber
- Easy to make (no yeast or rising time needed)
- Versatile for many veggie toppings
The toppings I used – shrimp, leeks and tomatoes – are an homage to one of my favorite pizza restaurants ever: Figs. Back when I was a dietetic intern in Boston, me and my girlfriend would splurge every now and then and eat at the one in Beacon Hill. We’d always get half Portobello and half Spicy Shrimp with Leeks.
Paired with a hearty salad, this socca pizza will serve 4 for lunch or a light dinner.
Have you ever cooked with chickpea flour or tasted socca? Share with me a travel food memory that has stuck with you – I love hearing these kinds of stories!