It was my first real market experience living outside of the tiny town in Alaska I grew up in. Everything was so vibrant and fresh, so idyllic. I felt so alive and connected in those moments. We’d make our way home with armfuls of cut flowers, a few fresh baked baguettes, bright green olives, delicate olive oil, a bottle of rose and a few varieties of cheese. She’d put on an old record, open the shuttered doors and one-by-one friends would stop by to gather around the table. Heated conversations around politics, philosophy and parties took center place over the casual meal. It was oh so very cliché French, and oh so very perfect. After brunch, we’d ride a scooter to a secret beach and swim all afternoon. I mean it when I said it was dreamy.
One day, we hopped in his rickety old Fiat with a fiery friend of his – a politico with a mission to liberate Nice from the clutches of the French government and revive its unique cultural roots, a blend of Italian, Northern African, and French history. We drove into Italy in the peak of a hot day, right outside the border of France where his grandparents had a small home in a village by the ocean. When we arrived, she had made us this very traditional Niçoise dish – socca – a thicker chickpea flour crepe with caramelized onions, kalamata olives and herbs from the garden. The conversation with simple as sat in her garden under the olive trees, accompanied with a glass of rosé with an ice cube and an afternoon nap post-meal. The memory of this sweet, slow meal made so lovingly by his grandmother will always stay with me. And whenever I see socca now I think of her and the beauty of a life lived slowly in connection with the land and the ones she loved.
To enter the giveaway, comment on this post below and share a few ways women in food/lifestyle blogging have shaped your life and head over Facebook to share this post and/or to my instagram (@claireragz) and repost this springtime socca photo in support of Sarah’s cookbook release + inspiring work! Tag @claireragz #vidyagiveaway when sharing on instagram. Two winners will be selected and notified by June 15th, 2015. I can’t wait to hear your stories!
1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 ¼ cup lukewarm water
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil , for pan
In a large bowl, sift chickpea flour, salt, and pepper. Whisk in warm water and olive oil. Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes to 12 hours.
When ready, preheat the 450F. Place the heavy unoiled cast-iron skillet in oven to heat. Remove skillet from oven once hot. Add the olive oil to the hot pan and pour batter in a steady stream until it reaches the edges of the pan. Place back in the oven to bake for 8-10 minutes or until the dough is firm and the edges are set. At this point, you can flip the socca and cook until golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven and gently flip onto a serving platter. Layer with toppings first or cut into slices and let your guests build their own pizza.
1 bunch green asparagus, trimmed & roasted
1 bunch white asparagus, trimmed & roasted
1 bulb fennel, trimmed, sliced & roasted
1 cup pesto
½ cup kalamata olives, sliced
Optional: raw goat milk feta
Reduce the oven heat to 350F. Prepare the asparagus and fennel. Trim the fronds from the fennel before slicing the white bulb thinly. Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on a baking sheet in the oven to roast for 20-25 minutes, or until tender and lightly golden. Let the fennel cook first before preparing the asparagus. Trim the ends of the asparagus, toss in olive oil and salt, then roast for 10 minutes until tender and lightly crispy on the ends. Remove from oven and set aside. To make the pizza, spread the pesto on first, followed by a layer of roasted fennel. Top with asparagus, sliced olives and sprinkling of goat cheese (if desired).
Makes 1-2 socca pizzas
PS – If you’re still struggling making the socca, this cute kid’s video is totally helpful and will crack you up at the same time.