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Cooking

Don't just lie there

Flatbreads make an appealing, hearty platform for flavorful toppings.

Flatbread pizza (Globe photo / Jim Scherer)
By Adam Ried
December 5, 2010

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Armenian lamejun

Makes 12 9 1/2-inch flatbreads

Store-bought flatbreads of different sizes work fine here; simply cut larger ones down to size.

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 pound ground lamb

1 1/2 tablespoons dried mint

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Salt and black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup canned petite diced tomatoes, drained

1 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted, optional

12 9 1/2-inch wraps, flour tortillas, or lavash

Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

Plain yogurt, for serving, optional

Set oven rack in lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. In a food processor, pulse onion, bell pepper, and garlic several times to mince. Transfer to fine-mesh strainer and press solids to release as much liquid as possible; discard liquid and return mixture to food processor. Add lamb, mint, paprika, cumin, cayenne, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, tomatoes, and 3/4 cup parsley and pulse until just combined. Transfer to a medium bowl. In a skillet over medium heat, fry 2 teaspoons of the mixture until cooked through. Taste; if necessary, adjust seasoning of raw mixture in bowl with salt and black pepper; add pine nuts, if using, and stir to distribute.

Working in batches, on a large baking sheet arrange as many breads as will fit. Brush both sides of bread very lightly with oil and prick upper surface all over with a fork. Top each bread with scant 1/3 cup lamb mixture and, with fingers, spread into a very thin layer, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edge. Bake until the edges are browned and topping is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through cooking. Rest lamejuns for 5 minutes, sprinkle with some of remaining parsley, cut into wedges, and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, topped with yogurt, if using.

Alsatian tarte flambee

Makes 1 10-by-12-inch tarte flambee

2/3 cup fromage blanc or thick, Greek-style yogurt or 1/2 cup ricotta mixed with 3 tablespoons plain yogurt

Salt

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

4 slices (5 to 6 ounces) thick-cut bacon

1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced

1 pound store-bought pizza dough

Flour, for handling the dough

Pepper

Set oven rack in lower-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. In a small bowl, beat fromage blanc or yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and nutmeg to blend, and set aside. In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, fry bacon until rendered and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Remove to paper towel-lined plate and let drain, then chop and set aside. Pour off all but 2 teaspoons fat from skillet and adjust to medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, following method in Kitchen Aide, lightly flour dough, place on large sheet of parchment, cover with plastic wrap, and roll or stretch into very thin 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Transfer dough on parchment to large baking sheet and prick upper surface all over with a fork. Spread the cheese or yogurt mixture evenly on the dough to edges, and sprinkle evenly with pepper to taste. Scatter the onion, and then the bacon, evenly over surface. Bake until crust is browned, about 20 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through cooking. Rest tarte for 5 minutes, cut into pieces, and serve hot or warm.

Provencal pissaladiere

Makes 1 10-by-12-inch pissaladiere

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing

2 1/2 pounds onions (6 medium), halved and thinly sliced

Salt, preferably kosher

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 bay leaf

1 pound store-bought pizza dough

Flour, for handling the dough

Pepper

1/2 cup pitted black olives, such as Nicoise or Kalamata

1 2-ounce tin olive oil-packed anchovy fillets, or to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sugar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to release moisture, about 5 minutes. Add bay leaf, adjust heat to medium, and cook, stirring more frequently, until onions are caramelized and reduced to between 1 1/2½ and 2 cups, about 40 minutes (adjust heat to prevent scorching). Remove bay leaf, add 2 tablespoons water, and with wooden spoon, scrape pan bottom to dissolve brown bits. Set aside.

Meanwhile, set oven rack in lower-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Following method in Kitchen Aide, lightly flour dough, place on large sheet of parchment, cover with plastic wrap, and roll or stretch into very thin 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Transfer dough on parchment to large baking sheet, brush top, bottom, and sides with oil, and prick upper surface all over with a fork. Sprinkle dough lightly with salt and pepper and spread onions in an even layer to edges. Arrange olives and anchovies on top, pressing them lightly into onions. Bake until crust is browned, about 20 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through cooking. Sprinkle thyme over pissaladiere, rest for 5 minutes, cut into pieces, and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Send comments or suggestions to Adam Ried at cooking@globe.com.

  • December 5, 2010 cover
  • Dec. 5. Magazine cover

KITCHEN AIDE
Shaping the dough
Pizza dough has an elastic quality that can cause it to resist the stretching or rolling necessary to shape it for flatbread. Two tricks help. First, lightly flour the dough, place it on a large sheet of parchment, and cover with a large sheet of plastic wrap. As you roll the dough, its edges will stick to the parchment a little, helping it to retain its stretched shape. Second, if the dough resists too much, give it a 15-minute rest to relax the gluten. You may have to rest the dough several times during the shaping.