Monday, September 21, 2015

Jeffrey Hamelman's Socca (Grain Gathering 2015)

Related posts:
Here is another flatbread recipe that Jeff kindly shared from his book, Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes, 2nd edition. And, in my humble opinion, one of the easiest, simplest and tastiest flatbreads you can make at home.
"Socca is a regional specialty of the area around Nice in southern France. It is also popular in Genoa, Italy, where it is known as farinata." I have never had it in Nice but we had bought some off a street vendor in Genoa five years ago when we visited Liguria. A trip I well remember as we had to cut it short: my mom -who lived in Paris- had been taken ill and hospitalized.
We hadn't gotten the call yet when we shared the smoking slice of pure bliss. I remember there was no rosemary or other topping: just salt and a fair amount of pepper and it was perfect. Sorry, no picture, which tells you how excited (and hungry) we were. Jeff's is just as good. Try it!
I know I will, first chance I get (that is as soon as the heat wave abates where we live and we can stand lighting the oven again).
Method:

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl
  2. Add the water and the olive oil and whisk until smooth
  3. Let the batter rest for at least two hours
  4. Liberally oil two 14" pizza pans. Heat the pans in the oven
  5. When the oil is hot, pour the batter evenly into the pans (the batter should be about ¼" thick)
  6. Bake the socca in 500° F oven until it is dark and crispy, 10--15 minutes, depending upon the heat of the oven
  7. Finish by broiling the the socca for 3 to 5 minutes until the surface is mottled
  8. Cut into rectangles and eat while warm. The top and bottom should be crispy, and the center creamy and moist.

Variations:

. A very light sprinkling of rosemary
. Artichoke hearts that have been steamed or lightly sautéed and thinly sliced
. Niçoise olives
Note: it is best to add the artichokes or the olives a few into the bake so that they don't sink to the bottom.

Tips

  • It is a very wet batter. Like water. In fact hydration may need to go up to 250% (depending on the flour)
  • Heat the pans to smoking before pouring in the batter
  • When done, the socca should be a little crusty on the outside and creamy inside.


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