"Socca is a flatbread made from chickpea flour. It is traditionally cooked in a wood-fired oven, giving it a charred and smoky flavour. You can almost recreate the effect under the grill. Don’t be afraid to let the edges get nice and dark for added flavour. If you wish, you can make the batter a day ahead and keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to cook." Matthew Evans, For the Love of Meat
- olive oil, for drizzling
- salt flakes
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 200 g bocconcini
- 200 g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 10 basil leaves, torn
- 220 g (2 cups) besan (chickpea flour)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 15 minutes
To make the batter, place all the ingredients and 500 ml (2 cups) water in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Stand to rest for at least 15 minutes, or up to 12 hours covered.
Preheat a 25 cm cast-iron frying pan under a grill. When ready to cook, carefully remove the hot frying pan, add a splash of olive oil and swirl the pan to evenly coat the bottom. Pour in half the socca mixture and swirl the pan to evenly spread the batter. Cook the socca under the preheated grill for 6–8 minutes or until the edges are brown and starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Carefully remove the frying pan from the grill. Smear a little extra olive oil on top of the socca, then sprinkle over some salt flakes. Add half the garlic, bocconcini, cherry tomatoes and basil, then return to the grill and cook for another 6–8 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Transfer the socca to a chopping board and repeat with the remaining batter and toppings. Cut into slices and serve hot.
• Besan, also known as chickpea flour or atta flour, is readily available from delicatessens, health-food stores and most large supermarkets.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Vanessa Austin. Food preparation by Alex Herbert.