Socca with Toasted Garlic and Cherry Tomatoes

A simple flatbread made with simple ingredients but with a toasted garlic twist.

One of our family’s favorite quick sides is socca, a simple chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour flatbread (or is it a pancake?) that can be as simple as just the flour, water, and salt. Cooked in a hot oven or griddle in a well-oiled pan, socca has a unique flavor and crunchy edges that we all crave.

It’s also one of the easiest and fastest dishes to make, and you can adorn it with countless toppings.

A long history

While the origin of this pancake is long lost, it has a history in both France and Italy, with dozens of cooking methods and ingredient variations. Whatever its ancestry, it is a simple and rustic dish, peasant food at its best, often cooked unapologetically with lots of olive oil, its crispy edges, almost to the burnt, a delight. But you don’t have to travel to the south of France to enjoy this dish, it is a breeze for the home cook!

Just a few additions

I usually add finely minced garlic to my batter, and often some herbs as well: basil, rosemary, or chives are my favorites. Sometimes I sprinkle on a little Parmesan, sometimes not, but I’ll often add a little topping. Caramelized onions are great.

Naturally gluten free, high in protein, and if you omit the cheese, it is vegan as well.

A little twist

In this version, I’ve toasted the garlic slices in olive oil and used that same oil to bake the cake. It adds more of that lovely toasted garlic flavor to the pancake.

I stripped my last cherry tomato plant today and have a huge bowl of these colorful fruits that will be used in the next few days or frozen for soups later in the year. In they went!

Socca with Toasted Garlic and Cherry Tomatoes

  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup chickpea flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 cloves of garlic, divided
  • 1 tsp. each basil and parsley, minced
  • ¼ cup fruity olive oil
  • 10 or 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1-ounce Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Basil to garnish

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. For this dish, I used an oval cast iron baking dish, but you can use any heavy bottomed baking pan, roughly 8” X 10”. Place this in the oven while it heats; you’ll want the pan piping hot.

In a medium bowl, combine the water, flour, salt, two crushed garlic cloves, and the herbs. Set aside for half hour, longer is fine. The batter will be thin.

While the batter is resting, warm the olive oil over medium heat and slice up the remaining three garlic cloves. Add them to the hot oil, and keeping a close watch on them, toast until they are a medium brown and smell fragrant. This happens fast, so don’t let them go too far or they will be bitter. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and scoop out the garlic to stop it from cooking. 

Once the oven and baking dish are hot, remove the pan, pour two tablespoons of the garlic oil in it, and immediately pour in the batter. It will start to sizzle around the edges. 

Dot the top with the tomatoes and sprinkle with the cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes or so, until the edges are crispy and the cake is set.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with torn basil leaves, the toasted garlic, and a little more of the flavored oil if you like. Cut into six wedges and eat while it’s nice and hot!

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  1. I would have guessed Greece as the originating country, Dorothy, because of the chickpeas. A lovey recipe.

    1. That’s a good guess! I’ll have to keep researching!

  2. Very very interesting!! Ready for a new research!!!!

    1. Italy? Greece? We all trade foods and make it ours. Let me know if you find the real story!

    2. This pancake is awesome… Here we make chickpea flour pancakes on a griddle, with addition of different ingredients & serve with ketchup or chutney!

      1. Oh, the chutney sounds wonderful! I’m going to try that the next time I make it!

  3. I love this! Commercially Trader Joe has a yummy one.

    1. We don’t have one around here in the south of Vermont!

      1. That’s amazing. Your hometown must be as an old fashioned Mayberry.

      2. Pretty much, no McDonalds here either. No Starbucks, so I brew my own French roast (fair trade and organic of course!).

      3. Keep that secret or there will be an influx of people heading your way. 💗☕️☕️

  4. Haven’t made Socca in a while, so thanks for the reminder. This version with the herbs and garlic and all the topping looks amazing. 🙂

    1. I love it just about any way, plain, with onions, lots of garlic, or plain!

  5. What a great read first this morning — this is a new one for me to try, and soon! I expect this to become an instant favorite. Thank you for sharing!

    1. You’ll love it because it is so easy and so tasty!

  6. Once again, you’ve introduced me to a new food and it sounds divine! Simple at it’s very best, lovely Dorothy!

    1. Thank you Jenna! I do hope you’ll try it, the flavor is like nothing else.

  7. Let's Cook says:

    I love this recipe. I have never ever tried this recipe, but this looks so interesting.
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    1. It’s easy too!

  8. CarolCooks2 says:

    I always cook mine on the griddle… Will have to try it your way… Your food always makes me hungry Dorothy.. Simple and delicious 😋

    1. And I’ll have to try making it on the griddle my friend!

  9. Karen says:

    I’ve had soccer when visiting Nice, France but I’ve never attempted to make it myself. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. You’re very welcome! It is so simple to make, and not many ingredients, so good luck!

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