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elrap

Socca de Nice

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Chers amis;

Last weekend I saw and purchased (for $35 at a swap meet in Maine) an enormous if slightly thin cast iron griddle. This thing, I thought, would be perfect for making socca over the fire in our fire pit, while waiting for the wood to devolve into coals.

I have the chick pea flour and the recipes - but they all call for a very hot oven, followed by a quick stint under a broiler. I have a VERY dim recollection (its been 25 years or more) that authentic Nice street socca is cooked on a griddle over a fire in some type of steel drum, but I could be well beyond wrong.

I'm hoping someone here's been to Nice recently and watched socca being made and can help me - is the batter poured out onto a griddle, cooked on one side only and served up in wedges, as I more or less remember? Is it turned with something like a spatula, and browned on both sides? Is it, in fact, baked and/or broiled rather than griddled?

Au secours! Merci, and if anyone has any other things to do with a hot fire and a thin 21" griddle. your suggestions are most welcome.

--L. Rap


Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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Crêpes, or more specifically Galettes au Sarrasin, the wonderful savory Breton buckwheat pancake.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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The Magic of the Fire by William Rubel covers almost everything you would want to know about cooking on a thin metal griddle in the fireplace. It doesn't have the directions for making socca but it does have the one for galettes of sarasin which are similar. Bux pointed this out in the previous post.


Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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I have the chick pea flour and the recipes - but they all call for a very hot oven, followed by a quick stint under a broiler. I have a VERY dim recollection (its been 25 years or more) that authentic Nice street socca is cooked on a griddle over a fire in some type of steel drum, but I could be well beyond wrong.

Hi elrap,

It's griddled on one side on a grill the size of a hula hoop, plowed off into pieces, and thrown onto a paper plate (or paper cone).

Cheers,

Rocks.

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The galette sounds like a great idea, thank you! I've never had them, but they sound blini-like, and I do have some buckwheat flour to give the recipe a try. Thanks also for reminding me about the Magic of Fire. I've never seen the book but William Rubel has a great web site I've visited occasionally. I'll look there again.

There's an odd French-Canadian buckwheat pancake called a plourde, I think, which this also brings to mind.


Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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Rocks, thank you! It's not only what I was hoping to hear, it's what I wanted to hear!


Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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Yes, on the Cours Saleya they cook it in a giant rounded steel drum over an open flame. When it's done, they scrape it off the sides with a spatula It's really great, a bit greasy and sloppy, and they never give you enough napkins!! But it did seem to be a unique, hard-to-duplicate way of cooking...

P.S. Nice is only 7 1/2 hours from NY, non-stop!! :smile:

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There are a variety of ways of making socca in Nice and the surrounding area. There are travelling vendors who bring a little "beehive" oven on a wheeled cart, heating it with wood; the socca pan (sometimes thin iron, sometimes copper) goes into this and is heated, then the batter gets poured in. Then the pan goes back into the oven for a few moments so that it is browned, almost burnt on top.

The vendors on the Cours Saleya, as Menton1 says, use a steel drum over a charcoal or wood fire.

Socca isn't that hard to make at home. Chick pea flour does go off, so make sure yours isn't rancid. Be sure that the batter isn't too thick -- it should look like thin cream. I find it helpful to let it rest for awhile, then pass it through a sieve to remove any lumps. Heat the griddle well, then add a good bit of oil, then heat it a bit more, then pour on the batter. I tend to let my socca finish in the oven, but you could do it on the stove top. Serve it with lots of ground pepper.

A very attractive variation is to sprinkle VERY finely chopped scallions over the batter as soon as it is poured into the griddle.

It's addictive stuff, with a wonderful smoky flavour.


Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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Thank you Jonathan, that is extremely authoritative! Weather permitting, I'll give it a try this weekend.

--L. Rap


Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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I am writing to correct myself regarding a French-Canadian buckwheat cake, more or less a rustic crepe and perhaps similar to the Galette de Sarasin mentioned by Bux.

They are called ployes, rather than plourdes, and I still have some dry mix in the nether reaches of my freezer.

Must have been thinking of clams, i.e., palourdes. My family well knows I normally am thinking of clams. . .


Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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I thought I'd wrap up this thread with a grand finale in which I make up a batter of 3/4 cup chickpea flour, 1/4 cup masa harina, 1 tsp of salt, 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 1/4 cup of water, whisked well, then let rest for an hour or so while I made a nice fire. Then, walking out the porch door with a spatula, oversized griddle, potholder, iced gin and tonic and bowl, I spill most of the batter when the screen door springs back on the bowl.

I have enough left for about a 7" cake, which I flip over (because it's easy). The masa harina socca (Quernavaca socca?) is a hit out of all proporotion to its size, but doesn't go far with six people. At any rate it's smoky, earthy and rich, with a texture like a thick crepe. Kind of bouncy and multi-ethnic, like world music. A good foil for a bruschetta type mix, with maybe some mint instead of all basil, or maybe a goat cheese spread. . . smoked trout . . . but in the end we rip it to pieces and eat it as is.

L. Rap


Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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Wanted to bump this thread, because I became a socca addict this summer and have made it at home many times in the past 9 months, to great success. This has little to do with makig socca on the street (the original topic), but I think the recipe I've found is proportioned perfectly and might translate well to the griddle method...

When I first started baking them, I made some that were just about inedible, so if you've tried one before and not loved them, try this Mark Bittman recipe and see what you think. There are some really critical secrets to making sure this works:

1) lots of freshly ground black pepper, more than you think makes sense. I used 60 grinds today, it was great.

2) and this is the most important: high temperatures. it must get seriously brown, almost burnt in places...otherwise, the texture is chalky like an undercooked tamale, and undercooked chickpea flour tastes much less appealing than undercooked masa. Very bad.

as the recipe says, it's foolproof (after the first couple :smile: ).

mark


Edited by markemorse (log)

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Wanted to bump this thread, because I became a socca addict this summer and have made it at home many times in the past 9 months, to great success. This has little to do with makig socca on the street (the original topic), but I think the recipe I've found is proportioned perfectly and might translate well to the griddle method...

When I first started baking them, I made some that were just about inedible, so if you've tried one before and not loved them, try this Mark Bittman recipe and see what you think. There are some really critical secrets to making sure this works:

1) lots of freshly ground black pepper, more than you think makes sense. I used 60 grinds today, it was great.

2) and this is the most important: high temperatures. it must get seriously brown, almost burnt in places...otherwise, the texture is chalky like an undercooked tamale, and undercooked chickpea flour tastes much less appealing than undercooked masa. Very bad.

as the recipe says, it's foolproof (after the first couple  :smile: ).

mark

Thanks Mark, I noticed Bittman's recipe myself but haven't made it yet. This is very much an outdoor thing for me - I'll give it a shot in a few weeks, as there is still some snow on the ground where I live! It was a kick to see the topic revived (I got an email when you posted and happened to be at my computer).

The rosemary, pepper and garlic quantities were interesting . . .

I kind of liked my version with masa flour, more like a savory pancake and I've made it once or twice indoors to have with a salad that includes goat cheese. Seems to work well that way for some reason.

Not sure if the instructions I posted earlier are the same as what I finally wound up with on my blog but if you want to pursue here is my own link:

http://www.eatingaway.com/PrintBox.aspx?file=MasaSocca.htm

Thanks again for continuing this now-timely topic. I'll post again in grilling season.

--L. Rap


Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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