Kitchn Love Letters

My Favorite Gluten-Free Dish Is Actually Centuries Old

published Apr 19, 2023
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Socca, crispy chickpea flatbread topped with cream, dill and smoked salmon.
Credit: Nicole Rufus

I’m far from being gluten-free, but lately, I’ve been looking for more ways to swap gluten-free alternatives into my meals. Many of my friends have dietary restrictions, whether they’re plant-based or paleo, and a few of them have very strong gluten sensitivities. In my opinion, half the fun of eating is being able to eat with loved ones, and so learning about gluten-free alternatives has become a priority for me. 

While the world of gluten-free foods has come a long, long way in the past decade, with more options available than ever before, my favorite gluten-free dish is actually centuries old. Socca, a flatbread made of chickpea flour, water, and olive oil has been popular in parts of Italy and southern France for hundreds of years. I learned about socca just last year and it has been a very welcome addition to the table, whether or not I’m dining with friends who are gluten-free. It’s delicious! 

Why I Love Socca

Besides being a suitable option for entertaining friends who are gluten-free, socca has become one of my favorite things to make because it has so much flavor in comparison to your regular flatbread. The chickpea flour gives it a distinct nutty taste, and it’s the perfect canvas for all sorts of toppings. I love eating it with a generous smear of tzatziki topped with salmon and fresh dill. It’s the perfect lunch because I can use leftover salmon from dinner the night before, and all I have to do is whip up the socca which cooks in less than 10 minutes. 

Credit: Nicole Rufus

How to Make Socca 

Socca is unbelievably easy to make. Mix the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and salt together and let the batter sit for 30 minutes. This allows the chickpea flour to really absorb the water. When the batter is ready, turn on your oven broiler and let your cast iron skillet heat up. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the hot skillet and pour in the batter. Broil for 5 to 8 minutes, until you see the top of the socca beginning to brown and blister. Remove the skillet from the oven and eat it while it’s hot!

If You’re Making Socca, a Few Tips 

  1. Eat immediately! Socca tastes its best fresh out of the oven and piping hot. It loses some of its crispness the longer it sits, so it’s definitely best to eat it right away. 
  2. Spice things up! You can top your socca with a spice mix like za’atar, sprinkle a bit of parsley or cilantro on top, or even stir some onions into the batter. The world is your oyster when it comes to socca! 
  3. Double the batter for larger groups. If you’re feeding a large crowd, you can always double the batter and cook it in a larger skillet. It may need a few minutes longer to cook, but the more socca the merrier. 

Get the recipe: Socca