Wednesday, February 9, 2011

You had me at... Socca

Socca. A word I've been seeing all over the blogsphere and yet somehow never managed to see in my own native South of France where the stuff supposedly comes from! How, oh how, did I live so many years without it? It all started with the Pure2Raw twins whose love for socca was so strong that they created a whole tribute page to it. Then the Fitnessista developed her own crush. Then Bitt, amidst her recipe testing of the I am Grateful recipe book, made some time for socca. Even, Gena mentioned it a couple times like if it's existence was a given!

Again, I don't know what planet I've been living on, but every additional mention made me wonder why I'd never had it and made my mouth water. I love chickpeas, and I love savoury pancake-like things, what was there not to love? I've gotta say, since the whole raw thing came into my life, sprouted chickpeas just haven't done it for me. They're good, but they to have a taste that takes a little getting used to. So when Michelle and Lori mentioned they had mastered a sprouted chickpea socca recipe, I was ready for action:


It is kind of a process to soak, sprout, and dehydrate your chickpeas just to make about a cup of ground chickpea flour, but given the additional nutrients (that I arguably then fried anyway, sure...) I definitely thought it was worth the trouble. I'd pick my own lovingly ground organic chickpeas over commercial chickpea flour any day! And I know it's fresher too!

To cut to the chase, I... love... Socca. I followed the Twins' recipe and added a pinch of salt and some rosemary. It was like the perfect pancake, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. It actually reminded me of an omelet, and despite all my love for veganism and raw foodism, I was definitely an egg girl back in the day. To have something taste so close to the texture of eggs without having to deal with the whole came out of a chicken's... well, you know... it was great!

I ended up wrapping my socca in a lettuce leaf with cucumbers and sprouts, and it hit the spot perfectly. I also tried a tiny piece with raw almond butter and half a date, and I think I may have glimpsed heaven. I'm sooo going to be experimenting with these while the weather is still freezing enough to turn my stove on every now and then. I have my eye on their fermented veggie socca next! Though I'm also thinking of a blueberry banana socca to simulate blueberry pancakes... The possibilities seem endless! I'm so excited...

But this would be no post of mine if I didn't give a little lesson on the origins of socca or something, so here goes: As I've mentioned, socca is from right where my family is, around the Nice area, but it's from anywhere from Nice to Pisa. Like my love rant would indicate, socca is an unleavened chickpea flour pancake. The ingredients are essentially chickpea flour, water, a dash of oil, and whatever else your heart can dream up. It can be oven-baked or pan fried (oh, if I had a cast iron pan...) and is generally seasoned with herbes de provence. I'd always assumed chickpeas were a Middle Eastern thing, but did you know that they've had chickpea plants in Southern Europe since about 6,700 BC? Who knew... But, the main lesson of the day: EAT SOCCA!!!

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