Thursday, June 10, 2010

Instant Flatbread and Tomato-Basil Salad

I stumbled upon this recipe for instant flatbread on the blog Orange & Salt quite a long time ago.  Alex and I are big fans of easy pizza, including those made with the pre-made flatbread you purchase at the grocery store.  Granted, not all of these grocery store pre-made flatbreads are created equal, but I have found that many of them make an acceptable crust for a quick and easy weeknight pizza.  But anything that works with pre-made ingredients has to be better with freshly-baked homemade bread, doesn't it?  At the very least, that was my rationale for making this instant flatbread recipe.  Incidentally, according to Orange & Salt, this recipe was originally created by Jacques Pepin, which I find even more alluring.  Because honestly, who doesn't love Jacques Pepin?  He's amazing.  And I think he might just be the most adorable chef alive.

We didn't make the flatbread into a pizza per se, but we topped it with a mixture of ricotta, evoo, rosemary, garlic and dried chili flakes like the pizza bianca at Co. (just take all of the ingredients and combine to taste), which we already made back in April.  For more on that, see here.  I'm not sure that the flatbread was amazing, but it was simple and tasty.  Be careful not to make the flatbread too thick, or it will burn on the outside before it cooks through on the inside.  

We tried to serve our flatbread with sauteed dandelion greens from the CSA, but after tonight's experience Alex and I are both fairly sure that we are not fans of dandelion greens.  They were so pretty, but so bitter!  We followed a recipe that called for the greens to be sauteed in a mix of anchovies, garlic and evoo, which sounded promising.  But I just found the whole dish to be incredibly salty and unappetizing.  Alex took one bite and refused to eat anymore.  I was stubborn enough to try and finish off my portion, but it's something I will think long and hard about before attempting again because it just was not good.  After the total failure of the greens I tossed our remaining cherry tomatoes with basil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and pepper and we had that instead.  The Tomato-Basil Salad is one of my favorite easy sides to throw together in the summer when tomatoes are deliciously sweet and flavorful.  It isn't quite tomato season yet, but I have found that Campari tomatoes are often flavorful enough to cheat a little.

Recipes after the jump!

Instant Flatbread  
Available on Orange & Salt
By Jaques Pepin

2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cup water
olive oil

Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and water.  Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is combined (the result should be something like a thick batter or very, very loose dough).  Pour half of the dough into the hot pan and spread with the back of your spoon, or a spatula until bread is spread thinly over the bottom of the pan and is between 1/4 and 1/2-inch thick.  Continue cooking on one side until bread starts to form attractive little brown blisters on the side facing down, about 5-7 minutes.  Drizzle the side facing up with a little extra olive oil.  Turn bread over using a spatula (be careful because it's fragile).  

Tomato-Basil Salad

1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup basil leaves, julienned
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Combine first three ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl.  Stir to combine.  Season to taste with s&p.


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