Thursday, June 21, 2012

Spinach Mushroom Onion Flatbread

Sometimes its really nice to be able to just relax.  To wander a new city, make up your own plans for the day, work when you feel like working and get to cook for someone other than yourself, in a new kitchen.  It can be a weird feeling when you truly get to decide what you want to do between 8am and 5:30pm during the week.  

Sometimes you just want to go for a run around new park, along a different river from normal.

Sometimes you wander around Glasgow and come upon a market...

...with all kinds of different foods, from countries all over Europe, that smell absolutely delicious.

Sometimes you want to take break, have a cup of tea, a piece of cake and just read for a while.

Sometimes you want to dream up a new meal and just cook a delicious dinner. Why? Because exploring the grocery stores here is fun...that might make me seem weird.  But its interesting to see that some have toothpicks and brown sugar and some don't.  Good thing there is a "local" store always just around the corner; literally there are 3 within two blocks of the apartment.  

This flatbread came out fluffy and delicious.  You could really top it with whatever you wanted to or even mix herbs directly into the dough, but I chose to top it with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and spinach.  The flavors all go very well together and you could serve this on the side with chicken or as a light lunch.  (I high recommend serving this with chicken that has been stuffed bacon, spinach and parmesan, maybe with a side of sauteed broccoli kind of ties the whole meal together.)  This can be a time consuming recipe if you make it all at once, but if you have the time to make the mushrooms and onions ahead of time it can be easy to throw together as the flatbread doesn't take anytime at all.  I would definitely recommend trying this recipe as it is definitely worth the time and effort, and would make for a great starter at a dinner party. Enjoy!

Onions sliced to 1/4 inch thick

White button mushrooms sliced...

Portobello mushrooms de-stemmed and cleaned, then sliced.

Onions caramelizing.

Mushrooms sauteing.

Flatbread ingredients plus warm water and extra virgin olive oil.

Its coming together very easily.

Let the dough rest for just a bit.

Into the pan to cook...

...until golden brown.

Top with the prepared mushrooms, onions, mozzarella, parmesan and spinach.

Spinach Mushroom Onion Flatbread:
*makes 4 individual flatbreads
Caramelized Onions:
2 yellow onions, "British cooking onions", cut in to 1/4 inch slices
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Sauteed Mushrooms:
1 container white button mushrooms, wiped with a paper towel and sliced
4 portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Flatbread: (recipe for flatbread adapted from Jamie Oliver)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plain flour)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon extra

1 1/2 cups spinach
1 cup mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Preparing the onions and mushrooms: (Both the onions and mushrooms can be cooked ahead of time, up to one day, just store in the refrigerator.)
1.  On medium high heat, in a large saute pan, melt the butter with the olive oil.  Once the butter is melted, add all of the onions at once and stir to coat with the butter.  Let cook for 4 minutes without stirring.

2.  Turn heat down to medium low and cook for 4 minutes at a time, stirring every four minutes.  If the onions seem to be browning to quickly reduce the heat. This should take about 20-30 minutes.

3.  While onions are cooking slice and clean the button and portobello mushrooms.  For the portobellos, wipe tops with a wet paper towel, then remove the step and using a spoon scrape out the veins. (see picture above)

4. Once onions are caramelized pour into another bowl and melt 3 more tablespoons of unsalted butter in the pan over medium-high heat.  When butter has melted, add the mushrooms and stir to coat with butter.  Stirring occasionally, cook mushrooms for 8-10 minutes or until tender and light browned.  Stir in the pepper and salt once mushrooms have finished cooking.

Preparing the flatbread:  (This can be done ahead of time and stored at room temperature.  I wouldn't cook them more than a day ahead.)
5.  To prepare the flatbread, in a large mixing bowl, using a fork, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.  Create a well in the center, then pour in the olive oil and about 150ml (or approximately 2/3 cup) of warm water. 

6.  Use the fork to gradually bring in the flour from the edge of the bowl, and add another splash of water if you think it’s too dry.  Once it starts to combine, wet your hands and use them to really bring it all together until you have a nice ball of dough.

7.  Dust your hands and a clean work surface with flour and knead the dough with your hands until it is smooth and elastic, the dough will start to "bounce" back when you are flattening it.  This will take about 5 to 10 minutes. Pop the dough back into the bowl, dust it with a bit more flour, then cover and leave to relax for 10 minutes.

8.  Divide your dough into 4 equal-sized balls, then lightly oil your hands and squeeze each ball between your palms to flatten them slightly. Dust with a little flour as you go, and pat and slap the dough from the palm of one hand to the top of the other. Turn and twist the dough about in a circular movement as you go and keep slapping from hand to hand – each flatbread should be about 1/2 cm thick. 

9.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).  In a non-stick cooking pan, cook the each flatbread over medium heat until puffed and golden brown on each side, this should only take a few minutes per side.  You don't have to cook them all the way through as they will continue cooking in the oven.

10.  Place the flat bread on a cookie sheet.  Top with the onions, mushrooms, cheeses and spinach.  Drizzle the top of the spinach on each flatbread with just about 1/4 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil.  Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until flatbreads have browned a bit more, the spinach has wilted and the cheese has melted.  Serve warm and enjoy!

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