Sun January 19, 2014
I'm Maria Filosa from WDIY and you are listening to Tasty Seasonal Recipes for the Everyday Chef. Most of us have heard of flatbread and maybe we have even purchased them in the store or at restaurants. They are called by many different names. You may have heard them called Tortillas in Mexico, Focaccia in Italy, Naan in India but they are all versions of the same thing, an unleavened bread rolled out flat and then grilled. Lately it seems that it's the newest items on many restaurant menus. They are served as both appetizers and in some cases, main entrees. What really amazes me is how easy it is to create your own and how inexpensively as well.
The basic ingredients are flour, water and salt. If you have never made them before, it would be good to start out with unbleached white flour since that will give you the very best results. Once you have an idea of how to work with the dough, then you can experiment with different types of flours. Each will produce a different flavor, firmness and texture to your finished flatbread.To begin, in a bowl, place 1 cup of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir to distribute the salt. Then add 1/2 cup of water. Mix thoroughly until a soft dough forms. Depending upon the humidity level in your kitchen, you may need a little more flour. I like to add the flour one tablespoon at a time so I don't make my dough too dry. What you want to achieve is an smooth dough ball that doesn't stick to your fingers.Divide your dough into four pieces. On a floured surface, roll out each section until you get 6" circles. Heat a skillet on medium high with one teaspoon of oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, gently place one of the 6" circles of dough into the center of the pan. Cover the skillet. The dough will begin to puff and brown on the bottom. Flip it over and brown the other side about 30 seconds. Remove your flatbread from the skillet. Cook remaining circles of dough. Now the fun part, you are ready to add your toppings.Place each flatbread on a foil covered cookie sheet. Brush the tops of each with olive oil then place various combinations of your favorite foods onto each. You can then bake your finished flatbreads for about 10 minutes at 450 degrees for a wonderful quick and delicious meal or just use them as a base for your toppings and eat your creation without further baking. It's entirely up to you.An easy classic topping choice would be thin slices of tomatoes, basil leaves and parmesan cheese. Another great choice is a little red tomato sauce, ricotta cheese and pepperoni. These will create pizza type versions. Very safe, very easy. Now it's time to get a little crazy.In a skillet, cook some sliced mushrooms in a bit of olive oil until tender then add a tablespoon of any flavor balsamic vinegar, cook until liquid is absorbed. Place the mushrooms on the flatbread along with a cheese of your choice and a bit of fresh thyme and basil.Make a Thai version by heating small pieces of chicken combined with either bottled peanut sauce or some peanut butter with a little bit of oil added and a shredded carrot. Spread over flatbread then sprinkle on some thinly sliced green onions.For a barbeque flatbread, shred or cut some cooked beef or pork and spread thinly onto flatbread. Brush on some homemade or bottled barbeque sauce then top with some cheddar cheese. Heat to melt the cheese.A quick Mexican meal could be made by spreading your flatbread with some refried beans then adding some shredded cheese and jalapeno pepper slices. Heat then serve with sour cream.Look in your refrigerator to see what leftovers you have. Little bits of almost anything spread onto a flatbread and covered with cheese is both thrifty and a great way to get rid foods that are not enough to feed a family yet still good.So keep some homemade flatbreads in your freezer for some spur of the moment meals and don't be afraid to experiment. You really can't go wrong.I'm Maria Filosa, stay tuned for more Tasty Seasonal Recipes for the Everyday Chef. Have a Bountiful day!