Monday, February 22, 2010

Grilled Flat Bread & Greek Style Salad

Grilled flat bread is an easy, customizable accompaniment to any dish, but I particularly like it along side a hearty salad, such as my Greek-inspired salad.  By mixing in any flavorings you like to homemade or store-bought pizza dough, you match the flavors of your bread to the flavors of your dish, for a cohesive, balanced meal.  The following is just a simple onion and herb flat bread, but your imagination is the limit on the types of spices or herbs that you add.  Brushing the finished bread with garlic butter or a flavored oil can even intensify the flavors and add an extra layer of decadence. 

Onion and Herb Flat Bread

* 16 oz of pizza dough--homemade, (recipe follows) or purchased from the grocery store
* 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
* 2 teaspoons crushed dried rosemary, or chopped fresh rosemary
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Roll out pizza dough so it's about 1 inch thick.  Sprinkle the dough with the onion, rosemary, and salt, and fold in half and half again.  Knead the dough a few times, until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.  Set aside in a bowl for 20 minutes to allow the dough to rest.

2. Heat a grill pan over medium heat and brush with olive oil.  Roll out the dough until it's about 1/2 inch thick (depending on the size of your pan, you may have to do this in 2 batches).  Place the dough on the oiled pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the bottom is golden and firm enough to hold its shape when flip the dough.  Brush the top of the dough with oil, then flip and cook on the other side for 4-5 minutes.  Remove from the pan, and using a knife or a pizza wheel, slice into wedges and serve.

Easy Pizza  Dough (From the new Gourmet cookbook)

This pizza dough can be used for grilled flat bread, or any other pizza you'd like.

* 1 1/4 oz package (or 2 1/4 teaspoons if it's from a jar) of active dry yeast
* About 1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour, divided, plus more for kneading
* 3/4 cups warm water, divided. (105-115 degrees F)--if you don't have a thermometer, this is quite warm to the touch, just slightly cooler than shower water
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Mix 1/4 cup of the warm water, the yeast and 1 tablespoon of flour in a cup and let sit for 5 minutes. The yeast mixture should look creamy

2. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups flour and the salt. Pour in the yeast mixture, the rest of the water, and the olive oil, and stir until smooth.

3. Mix in the enough of the remaining flour (about 1/2 a cup) until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.

4. Turn the dough out on to a clean surface and knead with lightly floured hands, adding more flour if the dough starts to stick to your hands. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Here is a good YouTube video that demonstrates kneading:

5. Form the dough into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Dust with flour and cover with saran wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft free place for about an hour and a quarter, until doubled in size.

At this point you can roll out the dough, add the fillings, and proceed as described above. 

Greek-Inspired Salad

A trip to Greece three years ago taught me that a true Greek salad is little more than large slabs of feta cheese with a few slices of cucumber, tomato, thick red onion rings, and olives along side, all drizzled with olive oil.  Because of the saltiness of feta, I found the cheese to vegetable ratio too skewed for my palate.  I like to add crunchy romaine lettuce to my Greek-inspired salad and dice my vegetables and feta cheese a little bit smaller for an even distribution of flavor and texture.  I wouldn't exactly say I follow a recipe for my salad, so let this list of ingredients be a guide, but alter the amounts of each component to please your own palate.

For the salad:
* Romaine hearts, sliced crosswise into 1 inch pieces
* Grape tomatoes, halved
* English cucumber, cut lengthwise into quarters, and then sliced about 1/4 inch thick
* Red bell peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces
* Red onion, thinly sliced
* Kalamata olives, halved
* Feta cheese, cut into 1/3 inch cubes

For the Dressing:
* 1 part fresh lemon juice
* 2 parts extra virgin olive oil
* A hearty sprinkle of dried oregano
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine ingredients in desired ratios in a large salad bowl.  Squeeze lemon juice in a separate bowl, and slowly add EVOO, whisking as you go.  Whisk in oregano, salt, and pepper, and adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Dress the salad, tossing gently to coat all the greens and veg, but not breaking up the feta cubes.  Serve with grilled flat bread, and enjoy!

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