Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eat With Your Fingers! Flatbreads!

I will be the first to exhort you to make something from scratch. But there are times when even I want a break. To quote Jacques Pepin, “Let the supermarket be your sous chef.”
There are many varieties of pre-made flatbreads available in the grocery store. From rectangular, thin-crusted ones to white or whole wheat Indian naan, the toppings are only limited by your imagination. If you want to make your own flat bread dough, by all means do it. Using pre-made makes it easier to do it frequently and faster.
One night youngest daughter and I embarked on a flatbread fest, using ingredients we had on hand or had recently purchased for such a dinner. Flatbreads such as these also work as finger food with drinks when friends are over.
We set up the oven as we do for pizza, with a pizza stone that we preheated. We crisped the flatbreads in the oven before topping them. Youngest daughter acted as our sous chef, assembling them based on combinations I sketched out. She ended up styling them like a pro. Since our kitchen is small, it lead to some well choreographed cooking: “Coming behind you.” “Oven door open.” “Watch your back.”  “Reaching in front.” “Hot!”
Each flatbread made four servings but since there were three of us, it meant deciding which one we wanted again without stealing it away from someone else. Tough choice.
But if you made four flat breads, that would have made sixteen slices so there was still one extra slice left. Who got that last piece?”
Our sous chef, of course.

Most of the flatbreads had a combination of shredded cheeses found in the grocery store which served as the base to hold the ingredients in place.

Our combinations:

Fresh diced tomato, mixed with salt, ground black pepper, and extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, crumbled bacon, chili flakes, cheddar cheese, and shredded basil added after it came out of the oven.

         Hot sausage (precooked and sliced) on top of zucchini pesto* with crumbled goat cheese.

                       Ripe figs with crumbled blue cheese (we used some Stilton) and prociutto.

Potato (cooked, cooled, and sliced) sprinkled with some salt, chopped garlic, chopped rosemary, ground black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and grated Gruyere cheese.

*Zucchini Pesto
2 cups zucchini pieces
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup extra virgin olive oil.
1. Cook the zucchini pieces in salted boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Set zucchini aside until cool.
2. When the zucchini has cooled, place the zucchini and the remaining ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Store the zucchini pesto in a covered container in the refrigerator. Use it as you would use any pesto.

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