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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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Oct 01, 2014

No food takes me back to Nice like socca does.  It is such a simple thing but so delicious.  Socca is basically a chickpea pancake and is a wonderful street food of the South of France.  

One of the best things about Nice is the open air market, the Cours Saleya in Vieux Nice (old Nice), which was just blocks away from my apartment.  There is always an abundance of fresh produce and it's possibly the reason I fell in love with Nice on my first backpacking trip across Europe. 

The self proclaimed “Queen of the Market” Chez Thérésa makes the best socca around.  There would always be a line but it was well worth the wait!  A man would fix it off site, load it on a small trailer attached to his bike and then pedal it through the small pedestrian streets.  She would then heat it over a large fire bin, cut it up and serve it with olive oil, salt and pepper.

 

I missed this dish so much I knew I had to create it at home.  My recipe has changed over time as I came up with what worked best in my kitchen.  It has become a staple in our house and we have it almost every week.

The main ingredient is chickpea flour.  Over the last few years this has become more widely available in grocery stores but it is easy to buy online as well.    

Socca is pretty versatile.  Sometimes I like serving it with just a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Other days I add toppings and treat it like a flat bread or pizza crust.  Today we enjoyed it for lunch topped with hummus, caramelized red onion, spinach and aged balsamic vinegar alongside a chilled Rosé.  What tastes more like the South of France than a nice Rosé from Provence?  Not a whole lot. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and a little peak at the South of France.  It will always feel like my home across the Atlantic.  Do you have any fun travel stories or recipes you brought home with you?  Please share in the comments below!

Socca
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1 cup chickpea flour

1/2 tsp herbes de Provence (or other dried herb mixture)

1 1/4 cups water

2 tbsp olive oil, separated

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a bowl mix chickpea flour, dried herbs, water, 1 tbsp olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.  Whist together until completely combined.  You can mix this up anywhere from 24 hours to 30 minutes ahead of time.

2. Preheat oven to 450°.  Put a 9x13 casserole dish or sheet pan in the oven as it heats.

3. Once heated, remove the casserole or sheet pan and line with parchment paper.  Then pour in mixture.  Make sure the batter goes out to all corners.

4. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until firm and starting to brown.

5. Remove from oven, pierce with a fork, drizzle with about a tbsp of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cut as desired.

 

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