During the summer months, when things are fun and exciting and completely exhausting, I find it hard to figure out weeknight meals that don't just consist of veggie burgers on the grill or giant salads.
Figs, and their cute little stems poking out of the package, bright green, deep purple. Last week, I bought a bag of figs, 10 or so. I was so excited when I saw them in the store. I brought them home, and then completely forgot about them for a couple of days. Once found, their juices started seeping out of their skin, and I knew it would be too late if I didn't gobble them up that day.
Unable to eat a dozen figs, I knew that these little gems would need to make their way into a dish. I didn't want to use them in a dessert,
, being very close in my past. I found some inspiration from a fig and caramelized onion pizza I had a while back, and hoped to recreate it in my kitchen. Also, being intrigued by the newly en vogue micro greens, I envisioned a perfect accompaniment to this flat bread. A predominately sweet flavor, balanced by the creaminess of the cheese, and crisp earthy taste from the greens. Caramelized shallots turn from delicious to amazing once fried in butter, and then drizzled with balsamic, invokes some serious sensory stimuli. Sweet earthy figs, melt in your mouth, followed by a hint of creamy salty cheese. All flavors work so well together. A wonderful late summer treat. A perfect stage to display those beautiful figs.
FIG, CARAMELIZED SHALLOT, AND GOAT CHEESE FLATBREAD RECIPE
makes 2 medium size flat breads
notes: Micro greens can be substituted with arugula. Onions can be substituted for shallots, and dried figs can take the place of fresh. Any pizza dough recipe will work fine. If I am feeling extra lazy, I pop down to the grocery store and buy pre-made dough. There is no shame in that.
4 large shallots, sliced
2 tbsp butter for frying
2 - 3 tbsp good olive oil
6 - 8 figs, sliced
3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1 - 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 handful micro greens
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 500ºF or higher, depending on your oven. Place a pizza stone into the oven and allow to get hot. If you don't have a pizza stone, place the flatbread onto a baking tray just before placing into the oven. Let the pizza stone sit in the oven for at least 20 minutes before using.
In a medium size frying pan, add the butter and sliced shallots. Fry on low-medium heat, turning occasionally, until the onions have browned and caramelized, approximately 10 minutes.
Place a piece of parchment paper onto the counter. Grab a fist-size piece of dough and place onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle a small bit of flour onto the dough, and with a rolling pin, roll it out flat and 1/4 inch thick.
Generously spread a tbsp (or more) of olive oil on the dough. Spread half of the shallots, 3 or 4 sliced figs, and then drizzle balsamic vinegar on top. Crumble the goat cheese, drizzle a touch more oil, and season with salt and pepper.
With a pizza paddle, lift the flatbread and parchment paper, and place it onto the pizza stone. If you are using a baking tray, place the flatbread and paper onto the tray and into the oven.
Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until the flatbread begins to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Sprinkle with micro greens and serve.
Add the flour to the yeast mixture and combine with either a wooden spoon, food processor with a dough attachment, or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Do not knead the dough, just mix until all the ingredients are uniformly moistened with no dry patches. The dough should be moist and sticky.
Cover the bowl with saran wrap and then poke it with tiny holes. Let the dough sit covered for 2 hours in a warm draft free area. The dough should double in size. Once it has doubled place it in the fridge until you are ready to use. It can stay in the fridge for up to 14 days or the freezer for 3 months. Do not punch down the dough, it needs to retain as much gas as possible.
When you are ready to make your pizzas, pre-cut and prepare all of your ingredients. They should be located in an easy to reach spot. You want to top your pizza quickly so the dough doesn't stick to the paddle or counter.
Place your cast iron pan on the stove top and preheat on medium for 10 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and place the oven rack on the highest slot.
Working very quickly, generously sprinkle flour or cornmeal on the pizza paddle to prevent it from sticking. Gather a peach size piece of dough by grabbing, twisting then cutting from the larger batch. Cover your hands and the dough in flour, until it is no longer sticky. Put the dough back in the fridge, it is easier to work with when it's cold.
Gently stretch and flatten the dough into a disk by pulling and rotating with your hands. Place the dough onto the pizza paddle and using a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll the dough into its final shape 1/8 inch think. Quickly top the pizza with sauce, then vegetables, and cheese. Drizzle with olive oil.
Slide the pizza into the cast iron pan (you may need a spatula to help give it a little push) and cover with a lid. Cook the pizza for 4 minutes and do not remove the lid until done. Remove the lid, then place the cast iron pan in the oven on the top rack for 3 minutes to brown the cheese. With a spatula, remove the pizza from the pan and place it onto a cutting board. Slice and serve warm.