This traditional dish is very simple and easy to make, although some practice will no doubt be necessary to get it just right, and modern ovens and implements can replace the wood ovens and copper plaques of yesteryear.

Socca and Cade are Provençal pancakes that go back at least to 1860. Cade de Toulon, probably the most ancient, was made from corn flour and the Socca de Nice that evolved from it is made from chick-pea flour. The Marseilles version is today made with a mixture of flours, using only a small amount of chick-pea flour; in Marseilles this was called "tourta tota cada", meaning "tourte toute chaude", or nice hot tarts. It was mentioned in 1879 by Frédéric Mistral as "gâteau de farine de maïs qu'on vend par tranches à Marseille" (or in the vulgar tongue "corn-flour cake sold by the slice in Marseilles").

In that ancient time, there were cade/socca sellers at the marchés and at work sites where they provided the favorite morning meal of the workers. The cade/socca sellers used special wagons with built-in charcoal ovens to keep their wares hot while they announced them with the appropriate cries of "cada, cada, cada" or "socca, socca, socca caouda". Some of the ambulatory socca/cade sellers (or their descendents) are still to be found in the markets at Nice, Toulon and la Seyne-sur-Mer, where the slices are served in paper cones. In Nice, the Cave Ricord has been selling socca continuously for the past 80 years.

Socca is made on a large round (50-70 cm diameter) copper "pie tin" (plaque) and cooked in a very hot wood-fired oven for about six minutes, until the top is golden. The copper is important for spreading the heat evenly.

Recipe ( Two 50-cm plaques)

300 g chick-pea flour
500 ml water [eau]
2 Tblsp olive oil [huile d'olive]
1 teasp salt [sel]
pepper [poivre]
Variations: try different flours

1. Pre-heat the oven to 300°C (570°F)

2. Pour the cold water into a pot. Use a whisk to mix in the chick-pea flour, olive oil and salt, beating thoroughly to remove any lumps.
The trick is in the batter, which should be slightly more runny than typical crêpe batter (which is thin, like Swedish pancakes).

3. Lightly oil the plaque. Pour the batter through a conical collander onto the plaque, covering it evenly.

4. Slide the plaque into the pre-heated oven and cook until the top browns nicely, possibly even going black where the bubbles rise.

5. Remove, slice and serve hot, peppering to taste.

A friend recently told me that her grandmother made the socca so thin it had only one side.

Conversions 30 g = 1 oz = 2 Tbs   180 g = 6 oz = 3/4 cup  
1 kg = 2.2 lbs 1 lt = 1.06 qt  60 g = 2 oz = 1/4 cup 225 g = 8 oz = 1 cup
0.45 kg = 1 lb   0.95 lt = 1 qt 115 g = 4 oz = 1/2 cup   450 g = 16 oz = 1 pint