Coca is to Catalans what pizza to Italians. A fun, simple and delicious comfort food that everyone will love. And here’s the good news: it’s dead simple to make it. Shall we?
Many years ago my friend Lluis Artús from Barcelona, gave me an excellent cookbook about Catalan cuisine. The book in question is Catalan Cuisine: Europe’s Last Great Culinary Secret. It was written by Colman Andrews and published by Grub Street in 1997.
Very often when we invite friends over lunch or dinner, I enjoy cooking a local speciality from my guests’ region. When you’re away from home, people usually miss the flavours from their local cuisine, so cooking something that is close to their hearts is a way to make them feel immediately comfortable and homey.
So last Sunday, when our Catalan friends Toni and Pati came over for lunch, I decided to cook a full Catalan menu for them. After looking through my cookbook, I ended preparing some cocas to start with and some beef meatballs with cuttlefish as a main. After all, everybody seems to like cocas.
We already explained what cocas are in this article, but for those who aren’t familiar with it, they are like a Catalan version of the Italian pizza. An oval-shaped thin dough that serves as a base for a variety of toppings, sometimes savoury, sometimes sweet.
As the book reminds us, cocas differ from pizzas not only in their shape, but also in the total absence of cheese and/or herbs amongst the ingredients that go on top of the dough. Also, whilst pizzas can include many different ingredients in a single portion, cocas are simpler in their composition. And another difference… pizza is usually served hot (although I love it straight off the fridge!) whilst coca can be served either hot or cold.
Anyway, what they all have in common is the dough. An easy and quick one to prepare. One that will give you a blank canvas to be creative and prepare the most amazing combinations (such as this one). And like pizzas, everybody will love them, specially the kids!