Spring Asparagus Socca
We visited the south of France in 2016 and stayed in Nice for about a week. It was our second visit to Nice and we fell in love with the city all over again. It’s large enough to offer the best in dining, shopping and art but has a small-town feel. It’s easy to navigate on foot or public transportation and has one of the most beautiful and successful community parks in the world.
And then there’s the beach. The Mediterranean is unlike any other body of water; beautiful, blue, crystal clear and, in September, warm like a bathtub.
One of the most popular street foods in Nice is socca. It’s such a simple food made with just a couple of ingredients but when it’s cooked authentically in the Côte d’Azur, it is unlike anything you can find in the States.
Socca is essentially a giant crêpe made from garbanzo bean flour. The batter is poured into a shallow, well-oiled, searing hot pan and then slid into a wood-burning oven. It comes out almost fried and is torn or cut into big pieces and, if done right, eaten outside with frosty, cold beer after a long day of swimming in the Mediterranean.
I do not claim, in any form or fashion, that this recipe for asparagus socca is what one would experience in Nice. But if you’re looking for a protein and fiber-packed, gluten-free, quick and easy, vegan meal, this one checks the boxes.
I went to the farmer’s market and picked up some tender asparagus, sugar snap peas, and fresh spring onions for this dish. All three of these ingredients are in season right now so what better time to incorporate them into my socca?
We are so fortunate here in Oregon, to have Bob’s Red Mill products. Not only can I buy fresh, locally grown veggies as the farmer’s market, but I can pick up a bag of Bob’s garbanzo bean flour and know that I’m still buying local. If you’re not familiar with Bob’s products, please visit their website. It’s such an awesome story and their products are nutritious and affordable. (This is not a sponsored post. I just love Bob’s Red Mill products!)
I encourage you to visit Nice someday but in the meantime, I encourage you to try my asparagus socca. Let me know how you like it!
Makes one pan of socca (enough for one person, double for two and cook separately)
1 small spring onion, diced
4-5 sugar snap peas, diced
4-5 sprigs of asparagus, cut end trimmed and then carefully sliced in half length-wise
Olive oil for coating the pan
½ cup Bob’s Red Mill garbanzo bean flour
½ cup water
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Clean and dice the onion and snap peas, set aside.
Clean and trim the asparagus. Very carefully slice the asparagus down the middle so it’s thin enough to cook quickly. Set aside.
Heat a large, shallow, non-stick frying pan on medium high heat. (You can also use a cast iron pan if it’s well seasoned and you use more oil to prevent sticking.) When it’s hot, drizzle some olive oil into the pan and brown the onion. Once caramelized, add the peas and cook them until they turn bright green. Carefully transfer the onion and peas into a bowl leaving as much oil in the pan as possible. Set aside the onion and peas. Now add the asparagus to the pan and gently sauté until they turn bright green and become a bit tender.
While waiting for the asparagus to cook, mix the garbanzo bean flour, water, garlic powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Whisk it together to break up the chunks and get it bubbly. Once the asparagus has softened, return the peas and onions to the pan and spread them around evenly. Then carefully pour the batter around in the pan covering all of the veggies and letting it spread to the edge of the pan.
Let the batter cook over medium heat until the consistency changes and the bubbles dry out and it looks cooked. Test the socca by gently shaking the pan horizontally. If it slides around in the pan and sounds dry on the bottom, it’s ready to be flipped. If it doesn’t slide around yet, just let it cook. You can also use a spatula to gently lift the edge of the socca and look underneath. It needs to be lightly browned on the bottom before flipping so don’t get too eager. Cook a few minutes more and test again.
When it’s ready to flip, place a plate that’s the same size as your pan over the pan like a lid. While holding the plate firmly over the pan, quickly flip the entire pan and plate combo so the socca is flipped onto the plate. Return the pan to the heat, slowly slide the socca off the plate and back into the pan, raw side down and continue cooking. Follow the same testing instructions until both sides are lightly browned.
Wipe the plate clean and the slide the socca out of the pan and serve!