Jeff & Linda's Kitchen of Diversity
Coca are seasoned flatbreads served throughout Catalonia, the remaining Spanish Mediterranean coast, and Balearic Islands just offshore. Although the name for this dish may make one think of chocolates, it actually derives from "kaka" the Germanic / Scandinavian word for “cake.” This term was introduced into Catalonia during the reign of Charlemagne, where it eventually evolved into ‘coca.’ As would be expected from this history, coca are just as likely to be sweet as savory, with typical toppings varying from vegetables to cheese, fish and other meats, nuts and fruit. Moorish-inspired coca may even combine both savory and sweet toppings, such as ground meat or cheese with dried fruit and nuts. No matter the topping, however, cocas typically resemble a tart made from made with yeasted – rather than short – dough. Very similar flatbreads are found across the Mediterranean rim, in particular Italy’s pizza and the Provençal pissaladière.
Coca are a common component of many tapas selections, especially in the south of Spain. The recipe we share is typical from Mallorca, the largest island in the Balearic Archipelago. These are characteristically made in late summer when an abundance of just-picked vegetables are available. While we used a mix of tomatoes and summer squash in the following version, any number of other types can be used, including eggplant, variously colored sweet peppers or sautéed leafy greens.
2½ cups bread flour
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 cup water
Place flour, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the water, olive oil, and wine. Mix the liquids into the flour from the well outwards. When all the flour has been incorporated in to the liquids, knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth. Put into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
3 garlic cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
4 medium tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
1 yellow crookneck squash, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
¼ cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
additional olive oil as a garnish
20 pitted black olives
Preheat oven to 425° F.
With a mortar and pestle crush together the garlic and salt, and then slowly add in the olive oil until a thick, smooth paste is formed.
Divide dough in half. Roll each into an 8x12” rectangle. Transfer to one side of an oiled 12x18” baking sheet. Fold all four edges to make a border. Repeat with the other half of the dough, placing this rectangle onto the other half of the baking sheet.
Smear half of the garlic paste onto each of the breads. Then arrange the tomato, yellow crookneck, and zucchini slices evenly over each. Sprinkle with pine nuts, salt, and pepper, and drizzle over with olive oil.
Let the breads rest for 5 minutes, and then bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and arrange the olives equally across both breads. Return to oven and continue baking until golden, another 5-8 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool. Serve at room temperature.
For the best Coca Mallorquina, use freshly harvested vegetables direct from your garden. We recommend that you consider using a nutty, sweet Creole garlic like Rojo de Castro for the garlic paste, a dense, meaty tomato like Rosso Sicilian or Ten Fingers of Naples, and an assortment of summer squash like Rugosa Friulana and Striata D'Italia.