Absolutely essential to any even half-hearted cook’s repertoire is the versatile flatbread. It’s a great way to use up a few stray vegetables left after all our salading and galetting–we had only a few ripe tomatoes and a lone ear of corn to use up–and a straight ticket to the heart of any pizza-loving picky eaters you may have lurking around. With less than half the cheese.
You get badges for thriftiness, efficiency, low-fat cookery, hostess elegance, and doting mommy-ness. Can it get any better really?
We started with a few tomatoes harvested from the garden:
That was the hard part. Phew. Then we just prepped the dough — half-baked it — threw our toppings on — and baked it until the tomatoes were nicely roasted. The whole process took about an hour or a bit more. Done. (Granted, it’s the hot season here, so yeast works fast..)
I made mine on a Lodge Cast Iron skillet I’d recently lugged back with me from Manila, which turned out to be as effective as a pizza stone, and easy to serve from, too. But really any baking tray will do just fine.
None of it lasted long at all.
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Either -- 1 teaspoon yeast, proofed in 1/2 cup lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon sugar
- Or -- 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast and 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1 red onion or 2 shallots
- 2-3 medium sized tomatoes
- 1 ear of corn, with the kernels sliced off, or the equivalent
- 1/2 cup or less of crumbled goat cheese
- You could also use: some zucchini slices, chopped leeks, and a few sliced mushrooms in place of some of the above ingredients. Feel free to be creative with what you have on hand. Just don't overload your flatbread, or it'll get hard to lift and soggy.
- If you're using regular yeast, proof it first: dissolve a teaspoon of sugar into a 1/2 cup water, add your yeast and allow to sit until it's nice and foamy.
- If you're using active dry yeast, then no proofing is needed.
- Stir together all dry ingredients (including active dry yeast, if that's what you're using) in a large bowl.
- Add water, olive oil, and proofed yeast (if you're using that instead of active dry) and mix into a ball, adding a touch more flour or water if you need to, to bring it together.
- Knead this for a couple of minutes, brush a film of oil over it, and leave it to rise undisturbed -- covered, in a warm spot.
- When the dough has about doubled (I never measure too precisely), punch it gently, reform it into a ball, and let it sit again for about 20 minutes.
- Slice tomatoes and onions thinly
- Cook the corn in boiling water, and drain.
- Crumble your goat cheese.
- Clean your basil and keep a few leaves ready.
- Pre-heat your oven to 450F/220C
- Very lightly grease a baking sheet or a cast iron griddle, and sprinkle with cornmeal.
- Roll out your dough until it's a size that comfortably sits on your sheet or griddle--and slap it on there.
- Bake it blind for barely 10 minutes. Then pull it out of your oven and add all your toppings: sliced tomatoes, sliced onions, cooked corn, goat cheese crumbles, salt and a generous sprinkling of herbes de provence.
- If you're using basil in this step, tuck the leaves under the tomatoes to keep them from burning. Otherwise, save these to throw on top later as a fresh green garnish.
- Bake again for another 10 minutes or until the veggies are lightly roasted and the edges are browning and the whole pan is calling out to be eaten (with those remaining torn basil leaves thrown on top). Now.