I know you are tired of hearing about spring aren’t you? Well, too bad. I love spring. For so many reasons, it is my favourite of seasons. Not least of which is that my birthday is celebrated during those short months of coming warm weather. Truly, my favourite part is the return of fresh, local produce to within reach of my desperate overwintered hands.
But let’s get to the question posed above. Is it flatbread, or is it pizza? Well, the answer is complicated, because it is both. It seems that the term “flatbread” is used in just about every country on the face of this blue and green orb. In some countries it is baked on the side of giant wood burning ovens kept outside and may provide the main meal of the day, in others it is simply baked in the home oven and eaten as a side. Most “flatbreads’ are unleavened although this one does contain yeast, as it is whole wheat and needs that helping hand. From tortillas, chapatis, bannocks and dosa, to lavash, naan, pita and roti, a flatbread is just that…Flat. Bread.
So whether this is a pizza or a “flatbread” seems to be up to what is trendy at the moment. I will call it a flatbread, as pizza to me has a more saucy undertone and much more cheese…but that’s just me.
Though there are what seems to be many parts to this flatbread, it is truly a simple meal and one you won’t soon forget. If it seems daunting, simply make all the parts in advance and assemble at meal time.
Now go out there and enjoy your spring weather, whether it is truly here or not.
**Just an aside…I don’t know if anyone noticed but there has been less pictures as of late than there used to be. I am trying my damndest to get more photos onto each post, starting with today, so watch for that in upcoming posts!
Butter Bean Hummus Flatbread with Asparagus, Brie and Caramelized Onions
1 recipe for whole wheat flatbread (see below for recipes)
1 recipe for butter bean hummus
1 recipe for caramelized onions
12-15 asparagus spears, woody stalks removed
1-2 tbsp canola oil
salt and fresh cracked pepper
3-4 green onions or handful of chives, sliced very thin.
125g Brie cheese, sliced into thin wedges
1. Begin by making the dough, hummus and caramelized onions.
2. Next, roast your asparagus. Toss in oil and salt and pepper to coat and roast in a 500°F oven for about 10 minutes. Stir every minute or so to prevent burning. When done, set aside.
3. When dough is ready, punch down and divide into two. Flatten using your hands by stretching and patting it into a desirable shape and thickness.
4. Brush with oil and grill on a BBQ for about 5 minutes a side. Use a wide, flat spatula to flip (to avoid breaking the bread).
5. Spread half of hummus onto flatbread, followed by half the caramelized onions, half the roasted asparagus, half the sliced Brie and a sprinkle of the green onions or chives.
6. Bake in 450°F oven for 10-15 minutes, or until crust is crisp and Brie is melted. Preferably using a pizza stone, but a perforated pizza pan will work, and as a last resort, a regular baking pan. If you want to brave the questionable results, you could place your flatbread right onto the racks of your oven (if you crisped it up enough on the BBQ, that is.)
7. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, slice and serve.
For the flatbread:
1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2/3 cup water, room temperature
1 Tbsp olive oil
2-2 1/2 cups whole grain whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp canola oil
1. Mix warm water, yeast and sugar in small vessel and allow to sit for about 5-10 minutes.
2. Add room temperature water and olive oil to the yeast mixture and stir it around to blend.
3. In a large bowl, stir together two cups of the flour and the salt. Pour the liquid in and mix it all around until it begins to form a dough.
4. Now get your hands in there and knead it for about 10 minutes. (You could also use the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer at this point too.) You may need to add the remaining flour to make it slightly sticky, but not overly so.
5. When the dough has become elastic and just ever so slightly sticky, place in a new, clean greased bowl. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rise for 1 1/2-2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the rest of the toppings:
Butter Bean Hummus (aka Lima Beans):
300g shelled frozen butter beans (You could also use edamame beans here as well)
2-8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (what? some people like it unbelievably garlicky…I’m lookin’ at you sis’.)
juice of 1/2 – 1 whole lemon
2 tsp tahini paste
1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
1. If using raw butter (or lima) beans, steam them in a vegetable steamer or in your microwave for at least 2-3 minutes. Raw lima beans contain cyanide and should not be consumed. I steam frozen ones as well.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, add all the ingredients. For the ingredients that have varying amounts, start with the lowest and add more if needed. Sometimes the mixture needs more liquid to be able to mix properly, in which case adding more oil and lemon juice will help. Adding only one or the other may make the flavour balance go more one way than you would like, which is why I usually add both if extra liquid is needed.
3. Set aside.
For the Caramelized Onions:
1/2 large onion, sliced in half moons
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup amber or dark beer
1. In piping hot sauté pan, add oil, onions and sugar. Sauté until onions are softening and sugar is beginning to be sticky.
2. Add beer 1/2 a cup at a time and allow to completely simmer off before adding more.
3. Set aside.
Whew! That is what seems to be an in depth recipe, but it’s truly easy once you start and I guarantee that you will love it! It is fresh, spring-y and truly delicious. Branch out will ya? No pain, no gain, right?