Silva has a background as a technical writer. In addition to how-to articles, she writes about cooking, travel, and personal experiences.
This recipe is for a versatile, easy-to-make flatbread. There's no dough sheet or baking sheet to wash (just a sauté pan and a mixing bowl).
I made two versions last night for my granddaughters, one who loves zucchini and onions, and one who loves beans and cheese (and hates onions).
First, I sliced two zucchini into thin rounds, half a small onion into thin rounds, and half a red pepper into long thin strips, and I sauteed this mixture slowly in olive oil until tender. (I added about five crimini mushrooms, sliced, for even more flavor the second time I made this.)
I placed a large Pampered Chef pizza stone in the oven, and then preheated the oven to 450 degrees. I placed another pizza stone on the counter. You can use cookie sheets instead if you don't have pizza stones.
I peeled and sliced a large tomato into thin rounds and set aside on a paper towel to drain. I also washed, dried, and diced up 5 leaves of fresh basil.
I made the flatbread recipe (below) and divided it in half. In the first half, I added some McCormick Italian herb grinder spices. I rolled the first half out as directed, quite thin, onto parchment paper, and transferred it to the oven, on the parchment paper. Bake, watching carefully. When it started to become golden, but wasn't quite ready yet, I took it from the oven and flipped it over.
Flipping it over is the important step if you want a crisp crust.
On top, I placed a sprinkle of mozzarella and parmesan cheese, the tomato rounds, and the sauteed veggies. I added a small amount of garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. I returned it to the oven, still on the parchment paper, just until the cheese melted and began to bubble.
I lifted it out by gripping the parchment paper on both sides (leaving the stone in the oven) and slid it onto the other pizza stone.
I rolled out the remaining half of the dough, again quite thin, and baked it, on its parchment paper, removing it and turning it over when it was almost ready. I spread refried pinto beans over it, sprinkled it liberally with Kraft Mexican shredded cheese, and returned it to the oven until it was melted and bubbly. You could add whatever spices you like to this version and also chopped onions. I made it only with beans and cheese to cater to my granddaughter. You could also add browned hamburger meat.
If this dough is baked without toppings, It is similar to a cracker . . . a tasty cracker. I will try this again, adding sesame seeds and spices, and mark it into cracker shapes before baking.
For the flatbread crust, I adapted a recipe called Crisp Rosemary Flatbread from the July 2008 issue of Gourmet.
For the flatbread:
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or half white, half whole wheat or spelt flour )
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary (I didn't have this on hand)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup olive oil
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For the zucchini version:
- 2 zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
- 1/2 small onion, sliced into thin rounds
- 1/2 red pepper, sliced into long thin strips
- 5 crimini mushrooms
- olive oil, for sauteeing
- 1 large tomato, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- 5 basil leaves, washed, dried, and diced
- Sprinkling of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese
- To taste: garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper
For the Tex-Mex version:
- Refried pinto beans
- Kraft Mexican shredded cheese
- Preheat oven to 450°F with a heavy baking sheet on rack in middle. (I used a pizza stone.)
- Stir together flour, chopped rosemary, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in center, then add water and oil and gradually stir into flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead dough gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times.
- Divide the dough into 2 pieces and roll out 1 piece on a sheet of parchment paper into a 10-inch round (the shape can be rustic; dough should be thin).
- Slide round (still on parchment) onto a preheated baking sheet and bake, watching carefully. When it starts to become golden but isn't quite ready, remove the pizza stone from the oven and flip over the flatbread.
- For the zucchini version: In a pan, slowly saute the zucchini, onion, red pepper, and mushrooms in olive oil until tender; then set aside. On top of the flatbread, sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Add sauteed veggies, tomato slices, basil, and a small amount of garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Return the flatbread to the oven and continue baking until the cheese has melted and begins to bubble.
- For the Tex-Mex version: Spread refried pinto beans on top of the flatbread, then liberally sprinkle Kraft Mexican shredded cheese. Return the flatbread to the oven and continue baking until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Transfer the baked flatbread (discard parchment) to a rack to cool, then make the second round on fresh parchment (do not oil or salt until just before baking).
I have made my own pizza crust from scratch for years. It's made with yeast and takes a couple of hours. I will probably use this recipe instead from now on. It's fast, easy, crisp, and tasty!
To make a traditional pizza, just spread with tomato sauce and add the toppings you prefer. I plan to try making crackers with this recipe next. I will add savory herbs and seeds, mark the sections off with a table knife, poke holes in it with a fork, and then after baking, break it apart into crackers. I envision serving it with hummus and other spreadables.
Flatbread can be made two days ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
Update: This morning I made another batch of flatbread. I divided the dough in half and made the first half plain. My husband ate it for breakfast along with scrambled eggs.
I rolled out the other half and added: Italian herb grinder, a breath of oregano and basil, salt and pepper, and Kraft Parmesan Cheese, the kind you shake out of a green container. Over all this I liberally sprinkled white sesame seeds. I carefully pressed all the toppings into the dough with the palm of my hand.
I baked as before, until almost done, then removed it and flipped it over and returned it to the oven for about two more minutes. I was afraid the toppings would fall off when I flipped it, but they stayed in place! And this is beyond yummy. I chopped a ripe avocado into small chunks and ate it on top of a pie-shaped slice of this flatbread. Heavenly. It will be wonderful with hummus.
Wow, I just had to come back here again and update you on my latest discovery for this versatile recipe.
I needed bread crumbs. I had some leftover homemade flatbread from the above recipe and I broke it up into pieces, tossed it into my Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus, hit Grind, and got perfect bread crumbs.
Remember, if you have any flatbread left over, whirl it up into bread crumbs, store it in the freezer, and you will have breadcrumbs on hand for toppings or whatever you need them for!