“Coca” is a Catalan, or northern Mediterranean coast of Spain, traditional dish. In other words, it’s a Catalan Pizza made with a touch of olive oil resulting into a crusty soft bread sometimes thick and other times thin and crunchy. They do all kind of “Cocas” in Catalonia, from sweet to savoury, minis to long and large, thin to thick and most of the time into rectangular form. One of my favorite is the “Coca de recapte” which means “leftovers coca” and mainly it is an eggplant, onion and pepper in escalivada (smoky, roasted veggie) but it could also contain meat, etc. because its name says it… it’s “a leftovers” coca. This version of coca, I’ve posted here, is a similar one although I’ve added a touch of goat cheese (my leftovers of the day) and let go of the whole roasting part. Cutting the cooking time by 1 hour. You could also add anchovy to this coca which is common to see in Spain. Surprisingly, they do not use much cheese on their “Catalan pizza”, most are with a meaty touch, like lard, rabbit or sausages or seafood like sardines, anchovies, tuna, etc. and veggies.
If you ever come visit Barcelona, you’ll see those cocas in many bakeries around town but my own personal favorite was the one in Bar del Pla, in the Born district. This small and charming Tapas Bar has some crunchy sardine version irresistibly addictive and also, try the “calamari in its ink croquetas”, they are fabulous. A great tapas bar if you ever visit. Okay… let’s go back to our coca… so if you buy it on the street in a bakery, the chances are they will serve it cold, that’s because they eat their coca this way in Catalonia. That’s simply how they do it but you could always ask for “calentar” warm up the piece if it bothers you.
It’s common to see Cocas with names of religious connotation, for example; the San Joan Coca (St-John the Baptist), the Easter Coca, the Christmas Coca or even the 3 three kings Coca. It seems like there is one for every occasion. So let’s make this an occasion and create this coca.
Eggplant, pepper and goat cheese Coca (Catalan Pizza)
- 400g of flour
- 200ml of warm water
- 9g of powder yeast or 2 tbsp of fresh yeast
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1/4 of sugar
- 1/4 of an Eggplant finely sliced (3mm thick)
- 1 Tomato finely slices (2mm thick)
- 1/4 of a Red bell pepper sliced
- Goat cheese to taste
- Basil leaves (top in the end)
- *optional anchovies
Preheat the oven at 180°C (350F)
- Add the warm water, sugar and yeast in a bowl and let it work its magic for 10 minutes
- Add the salt and olive oil to the flour and the yeast/water and mix
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes
- Leave the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic of towel near a warm place for an 30-1 hour.
- For the Coca base with the hand of a kitchen rolling pin
- Add to floured wood to slide onto the oven stone or add to a baking sheet on the baking tray
- Add the tomatoes, eggplant and pepper topped with goat cheese and a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper
- Cook about 35-40 minutes or until golden
Serve with a few fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!