Made from chickpea flour, socca is a naturally gluten-free pancake from Nice, in southern France. Here it is wrapped around a classic Niçoise salad – a perfect combination from the shores of the French Riviera. Best eaten in the sunshine with a glass of chilled rosé!
Begin by making the socca batter. In a bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour with 500ml cold water, the olive oil and rosemary, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours to allow the batter to settle.
For the dressing, place all the ingredients in a sealed jam jar, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, and give it a good shake. Or for a super-smooth and perfectly emulsified dressing, place all the ingredients in a jug and pulse with a stick blender until creamy. Set aside.
Put the eggs in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 5–6 minutes. Run under cold water until cool enough to handle, then peel and slice each one into quarters. Set aside.
Plunge the green beans into boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes until just tender. Drain well and refresh under cold running water to cool quickly and halt cooking. Tip into a large bowl and add the tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, anchovies, olives and basil. Pour over the dressing and stir well to mix. If you are making ahead of time, however, don’t dress the salad until you are ready to eat.
Remove the socca batter from the fridge and give it a final whisk to mix. At this point you can divide it between 6 glasses if you like, to make sure the pancakes are of even size. Or you can do as I do and make an educated guess! A ladleful per pancake is about right. Take a large (28–30cm) non-stick frying pan and set it over a medium heat. When it’s hot, add a little oil and brush it all over the surface of the pan using a piece of scrunched-up kitchen paper. Make the first pancake by pouring in the batter and swirling it around to spread it out into a round pancake. Let it cook for a couple of minutes then flip over with a fish slice and cook on the other side for a further couple of minutes. Remove to a plate and keep warm in a low oven (around 110°C/90°C Fan/Gas Mark ¼) while you repeat with the rest of the batter to give you 6 pancakes.
To serve, place the pancakes on a plate in the middle of the table, along with the salad, the tuna, the egg quarters and the lettuce, and let your guests fill and wrap their own. Or you can assemble them yourself and wrap tightly in foil ready to eat.