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Jul 1, 2008 03:21 PM

Socca and panisse

Mark Bittman extols the delights of panisse in the latest entry on his blog ("My new favorite thing").

It sounds good, but after my socca experience, I am not so sure

I tried to make socca a couple weeks back - and the results were a disappointment. The flavor was okay, but the results were uneven. Outside was super crispy, inside was kinda sorta creamy.. - but the pieces were pretty crumbly. (I used a cast iron skillet)

I was never able to produce the thin socca that everyone seems to be bragging about across the blogsphere.

I have more chickpea flour, and I hate to give up.... so tell me, move on to Panisse, or conquer Socca first?

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  1. I found most panisse and socca recipes too thick, and really heavy. But I've been quite happy with the farinata recipe from River Cafe Green. I've posted it before; I'll try and find the link.

    4 Replies
      1. re: Gooseberry

        I agree about being happy with the results when making farinata. I use this recipe from Food & Wine:

        1. re: always_eating

          I made the recipe -- its in the oven. I would suggest using a non sick flat fryig pan - pancake griddle thing..) I also made it too thick! Mine stuck to the pan, so I dumped it out in a blob and rolled it into a greased thin crust pizza pan.
          Its in the oven at 420 degrees getting crispy. Will keep you posted.

          UPDATE! -
          So, I baked at 20 minutes in the pan at 420. Pulled it out. Added marinated mozz., roma tomatoes, herbs, and salt. I added too much olive oil as it did come out a bit soggy.Back in for 10 minutes.The rosemary and parm cheese from the crust was lovely! It was not too thick - I rolled it pretty thin. I would make this again and again. I missed pizza while eating wheat free- this is a NICE treat.

          1. re: stellamystar

            Oh this sounds delicious! I'm going to have to try! I try to eat gluten-free as much as possible and use those pre-made rice flour pizza crusts for pizza, but they aren't the greatest. I like this idea much better.

      2. This doesn't answer your question at all, Daisy, but I have been wondering if I can make socca with Indian besan. I've got a huge bag that I bought some months back in an unsuccessful attempt at roti. I would love to put it to good use, especially for a gluten-intolerant friend.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Agent Orange

          I am so happy the besan flour discussion is back. I am trying to go gluten, this has been a task. I've made Molly Ivin's quiche crust (does have a bit of reg. flour, not much). I am going to attemtp socca turned into pizza crust.
          When I have made it in a pan - it's always chewy and not crispy. So...not sure if my flour is too coarse, too much batter, etc.
          One recipe said to add baking powder (or was it soda??) to lighten it a bit. ..

          I am buying the "indian" besan flour. Not sure if that's the right one. ? Hm.

          1. re: stellamystar

            I make it with besan and use it as a pizza crust. I bake it until it is crispy, and it is a fairly thin layer of batter - say maybe 3 crepes thick? I then top it with the toppings and bake until warmed through. Although I don't always add enough, lots of olive oil helps make it crispy and tastey.

            1. re: stellamystar

              I have also fried with besan with varying degrees of success - Indian pakoras. Yummy. They were a bit chewy, but frying at home is oil never gets hot enough. The first batch was great..and then chewy, soggy from there. Kept them in oven to keep crispy.

              The quiche crust is the best so far, IMHO.
              When I mix the water into the besan, it smells like hell, but it always dissipates.
              I usually chill it for an hour at least in the fridge - helps with rolling.

              I'd love to hear more recipes!

            2. re: Agent Orange

              No worries, I also have a gluten-intolerant friend. She is my inspiration for conquering breads (and things) made with garbanzo flour.

              I used Bob's Red Mill Garbanzo flour. Maybe this is where I went wrong, and I need to be using a different product.

              I have read differing opinions on Garbano flour compared to Besan and the italian version (cici?).

              1. re: Daisy L

                I have found many packages of the Bob's red mill to be bitter, so that is why I use the besan. I prefer the sweeter taste, but haven't had the italian version.

            3. So far I've been making socca in a crepe pan, with a crepe like thickness. Today I tried it in the oven on a 12" steel pan, a Mexican comal, which I've also been using as a pizza pan. I warmed the oven and pan to 400 F, oiled the pan, and spread the batter. I didn't measure how much I used, though I'd guess about a cup and half. Thickness was a bit more than a crepe. Once the socca was set, I raised the rack, and browned it a bit under the broiler.

              I added salt and pepper and loosened it from the pan. It stuck some around the middle. I liked this version better than the crepe ones. More of it was crisp; in fact the best part was the stuck part once I it worked loose. The contrasting textures were a plus.

              1. This afternoon I had off from work so I picked up some very finely ground besan (made in Canada!) and tried my hand at socca. I don't have anything to compare my results with the original farinata / socca, but it was pretty damn good, I thought!

                I adapted my recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian book. Her recipe has you using a pan on the stovetop and finishing it under the broiler. I used about 1 cup of besan, sifted, and 1 cup of tepid water. I let the runny batter sit for over an hour.

                Before cooking it, I added lots of pepper, some dried thyme and about 2 tsp of chopped fresh rosemary... and since I don't have a wood fired oven, I added a goodly pinch of pimenton too.

                I was more generous with the oil since I used a cast iron pan, well heated up. I let the poured batter bubble and start drying out. Oh, mebbe 3 minutes, tops. Because my pan was very hot, I could smell the browning so I took it off the heat. Then I poured a good drizzleglop (<-- yes, I'm big on technical jargon, you can tell) of oil and slid the pan under the pre heated broiler. Things bubbled and fried nicely, which took roughly 5 minutes. I took it out when it had turned lovely and golden.

                It was pretty easy to pry out of the pan. I sprinkled some fleur de sel and chowed down half of the socca while hot. It was pretty thin, with a crisp exterior and a creamy interior.

                I'm sold.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: paulj

                    It's about 7-9mm thick (I just went to check the half that's left)... maybe that's not as thin as you'd like, but it was not goopy.

                1. A Bittman column about trying the same thing with other grains


                  The new Ethiopia Bizarre Foods episode shows a flatbread that is made by spreading the batter around on the hot griddle by hand.