Monday, July 27, 2015

Flatbread Pizzas

Every time I 'm in the supermarket, I see new products -- and I often think to myself, "Why not try something new each week?" I never manage to follow through on that thought, but a few days ago, I couldn't resist the urge. I saw this package of flatbreads flavored with rosemary and olive oil and knew they'd make the perfect base for a lunch I was preparing for visiting family members.

The package contains six flatbreads, so I made two of each of the following, using veggies from my garden as inspiration. On top -- a base of ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan and herbs, topped with thinly sliced zucchini, zucchini blossoms and more mozzarella and basil; middle -- corn, tomatoes and shishito peppers, topped with mozzarella; bottom (and my favorite), caramelized onions, anchovies, olives and parmesan cheese, sprinkled with thyme (I left out the anchovies on one for those who don't eat anchovies {they don't know what they're missing}).

I followed instructions on the package, which said to heat the flatbreads in the oven for two minutes at 375 degrees before adding the toppings, then to bake another four minutes. I would recommend baking much longer, maybe doubling the time - both before and after adding the toppings - to crisp up the bottoms. Or use your grill and watch carefully so they don't burn.

I'm heading back to the store to buy several of these packages to store in the freezer. Everyone loved them and they were a snap to make. I got my family involved in assembling the flatbreads, making it a fun family activity. The hardest part was caramelizing the onions (it took an hour and a half), which I did the night before. Let your imagination run wild with all the possibilities of toppings. But don't use frozen corn or supermarket tomatoes. It's essential to use good quality ingredients since they'll be the star of the dish. 

Flatbread Pizzas - 

each recipe is enough for two flatbreads

Bake the flatbreads plain, in a 375 degree oven for four minutes; top with the following, then bake another six to eight minutes or until crispy on bottom, if that's how you like it. (Some people preferred the non-crispy bottoms)

Or place them on your outdoor grill, carefully keeping an eye on them so they don't burn.

1. Zucchini and Cheese - Mix 1 cup ricotta cheese with 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Chop up a bunch of herbs (I used parsley, basil and thyme) and mix with the cheese. Spread on a flatbread that's been baked a few minutes. Then thinly slice some zucchini (I used a mandoline to slice but if you don't have one, just slice as thinly as you can.) Break up some zucchini blossoms and scatter them on the top, then sprinkle everything with grated mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.


2. Corn and Tomatoes -  Boil two ears of corn for two minutes. Drain, let cool, then slice off "planks" of corn. Use cherry tomatoes, as I did, or thinly slice regular tomatoes. Layer the flatbread with the corn and tomatoes. Thinly slice shishito peppers (or whatever kind of peppers you have). Scatter them across the top, along with some mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.

3. Caramelized Onions, anchovies and olives - This is nearly the same as making a pissaladière, a Provençal pizza. I used two large sweet onions, sliced and sautéed in about 2 T. olive oil at slow to medium heat. It took an hour and a half to get the nice, rich brown caramelization. If you hurry the process, they're likely to burn or cook unevenly. Spread the onions over the flatbread, layer with slivers of anchovy, then slice some pitted green olives in half and place on top. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bits of fresh thyme.

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