Socca is a giant chickpea flatbread from the south of France and the Ligurian coast of Italy, where it is known as farinata. I really enjoy serving it for dinner parties because it is a delicious base on which to pile vegetables and protein and it is gluten-free and vegan which means highly inclusive. Here is one flavor pairing I really enjoy – socca with harissa aioli, shrimp, asparagus, and arugula.
Coating the socca with a layer of harissa aioli creates a sort of adhesive for the vegetables. Caramelized red onion adds a hint of sweetness and peppery arugula and scallions complement the crisp asparagus and delicate shrimp. Socca with harissa aioli, shrimp, asparagus, and arugula is a delicious meal in celebration of spring.
serves 4-6 (6 with another side)
for the harissa aioli
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup neutral oil
- 2 tablespoons harissa paste
for the socca
- 2 cups chickpea flour
- 2 cups warm water
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons parsley
for vegetables & shrimp
- 1 pound shrimp, deveined with the tails removed
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed (bend the ends off and wherever they snap is where to trim them)
- 2 cups arugula
- ¼ cup scallions, sliced
harissa aioli steps
Place the garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the egg, mustard, and lemon juice and pulse until blended. Slowly drizzle in the oil while the food processor runs to ensure the mixture fully emulsifies. Once the consistency thickens, mix in the harissa. There will definitely be extra harissa aioli from this recipe, so feel free to use it on any bread, vegetables, potatoes, meat, etc. The harissa aioli will keep for 3 months in the refrigerator.
Combine the chickpea flour, warm water, 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley in a large bowl and whisk until you have an even consistency without lumps. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
While the batter nears the end of its resting, preheat the oven to 450°F, and place a 10 or 12-inch cast iron skillet in the oven as it heats up. After 20 minutes, drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and swirl it around. Pour ¼ of the batter (about 1 cup) into the pan. Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes until it begins to brown on the edges and can be lifted from the pan. I like to flip it and cook it for an additional 3 minutes on the other side, but you don’t have to do that.
Repeat with the remaining batter and while the remaining socca cook, prepare your vegetables and shrimp.
vegetables & shrimp steps
Fill a kettle with water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, marinate the shrimp in the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and set it aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the sliced red onion. Cook until caramelized, 7-10 minutes. While the onion cooks, place the asparagus in a colander in the sink and pour the boiling water over it to blanch it. Immediately transfer it to the pan with the onion and saute for 5-7 minutes.
In a separate skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Transfer the shrimp to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on one side then flip and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp as you will wind up with rubbery bands. The shrimp will turn from grey to pink when they are finished cooking.
Spread a layer of harissa aioli over the socca and top with ½ cup arugula, ¼ of the asparagus and onions, and ¼ pound of the shrimp. Cut each socca in quarters (you will have 16 pieces) and serve warm or at room temperature!