Sunday, September 22, 2013

Grilled Flatbreads

Grilled Flatbread
Yield: 4 flatbreads, 4-6 servings
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 10 minutes

      During the summer and early fall there is an abundance of fresh produce and heirloom products at the market. A casual and easy way to showcase those ingredients is assemble them on a flatbread. A flatbread is similar to a pizza but the dough is softer and chewier and usually grilled to create a charred and crispy crust. It is the perfect appetizer for an outdoor party and the toppings can be paired with craft beers or wines. Our two flatbreads are polar opposites to show the versatility of flavors that can be created. The first is topped with a rich and savory bacon onion jam, earthy blue cheese, and sweet juicy figs which would pair well with a dark or smoked beer. The second is light and topped with a simply dressed arugula salad, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, and a balsamic glaze which would pair well with a crisp white wine. Both options are best enjoyed around friends and family so try out a few and let us know what you think.

1 tsp Active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 cups AP flour
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Large yellow onions, sliced
4 strips bacon
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp water
4 fresh figs, quartered
1/4 lb blue cheese
1 sprig thyme

2 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 lb goat cheese
2 Tbsp Balsamic glaze
1 sprig basil

1. To begin the dough dissolve the yeast in the warm water and  allow this to sit and active for about 5 minutes
2. In a large bowl combine the sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder.
3. Once the yeast is foaming it is activated. Combine it with the yogurt and olive oil, then pour the wet ingredient into the dry and combine thoroughly with your hands.(It should be a soft and slightly sticky dough when it comes together) Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm area for 1 hour.
4. While dough is resting cook the bacon onion jam. Begin by cutting the bacon into a medium dice, then add it to a large pan over medium low heat to render out the fat until the bacon is crispy. Once done remove the bacon with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel, leaving the fat in the pan.
5. Add the sliced onions to the pan with the sugar and salt, caramelize on low heat for about 30 minutes. Onions onions are softened and deeply colored add the water and bacon back to the pan, hold off heat until ready to assemble flatbread.
6.While waiting for the dough to rise quarter the figs, crumble the blue cheese and halve the tomatoes. Hold until assembling the flatbreads.
7.Once the dough has risen, pour it out onto a floured surface and divide into 4 equal portions. Roll the dough into balls and coat with flour to prevent sticking. Working with one portion at a time flatten the dough with your hand and then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a 10 inch disk about 1/4 inch thick. (it doesn't need to be perfectly round) Repeat with all dough portions and hold on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
8. Heat an electric grill to high or a large cast iron pan over high heat until it is smoking. Brush the grill grates or pan with oil and gently lay one of your flatbread onto the hot surface. Cook the first side for 2 minutes, the dough should begin to bubble and will be charred. Flip the flatbread and cook on the second side with the lid down or a cover on the cast iron pan for 1 more minute. Repeat with all the flatbreads and serve warm.

To assemble the savory onion flatbread spread a few spoonfuls of bacon onion jam onto the grilled bread as a base, randomly spread the crumbled blue cheese and figs, and garnish with fresh thyme.

 To assemble the light and fresh arugula pizza begin by tossing the arugula with a Tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread a handful of the dressed arugula onto the flatbread crust then randomly place the sliced tomatoes,  crumble the goat cheese, and drizzle the balsamic glaze on top, garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Chef's Note
     Flatbreads are extremely versatile and customizable, after making the dough you can use any topping in your fridge. Its a great way to disguise leftovers and get kids to eat some vegetables. It is also a perfect recipe to have kids help out in the kitchen and use their creativity. If you make a large batch of dough, roll out the disks, grill them, and then freeze in a plastic bag with parchment paper in between each layer. They will keep for six months and when you're feeling like a snack just pull one out, defrost in the microwave for one minute, add your toppings and bake in a 500 F oven to re-crisp.
     If you do't have the time to make your own flatbread base the best substitution is to use prepackaged naan bread that can be found in most large grocery stores.
     Fresh figs are only found in grocery stores during the summer and earl fall months so if they are no longer available substitute them with whole dried figs. Dice 1/2 cup of figs into small bite size pieces and reconstitute in a few tablespoons of very hot water.At the end of making the bacon onion jam instead of adding in plain water dump in the bowl of figs with the juices. This wont give you the same luscious mouth feel of a fresh fig but the sweet flavor is needed to cut through the rich bacon and blue cheese.
     The last substitution in this recipe is the balsamic glaze. If you cannot find the glaze at you're grocery store it can easily be made at home by combining 2 cups of balsamic vinegar and 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan. Simmer this over low heat until reduced by half and a thick syrup consistency is achieved.

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