Thursday, March 18, 2010

My foray into Grilled Flatbread

Ever since my first experience with grilled flatbreads, being on the buying end of them, I've been enamored with them.  However,  not enough to attempt them on our little tabletop grill that we had.

Just as soon as we moved south to West Virginia, into a house with a deck, I've been obsessed with buying a real, normal grill, and grilled flatbreads were one of my many, many reasons for wanting one.

Well, 2 weeks ago, we became the proud owners of our very first grown-up toy, a two burner grill that now resides on our deck.

In the 2 weeks since the grill joined our family, I've made steak (one of the best in my LIFE, btw), grilled veggies, burgers, burgers and more burgers, and of course, hot dogs.  But no flat breads.  I was a little intimidated, because HELLO? putting dough on a grill?  A HOT grill? How in the heck do they DO that?

I looked up a basic recipe for grilled flatbreads, and when my son nagged me for the 99,000th time, I gave in and wrote it down.
Today, though, I decided to make it.  I don't even know why, because I'd already made lunch and we'd already eaten THAT.  But I suppose it was the fact that I was also making peanut butter play dough that I decided hey, why not try it.  It's a beautiful day, perfect for the grill.

As much as I LOVED the flatbreads we used ot get at the LIttleton Farmer's Market, they weren't exactly brimming with healthy, nutricious stuff.  Sure, you could get them with just tomato, but they were also topped with quite a bit of oil, and my stomach not being what I'd call healthy, I didn't want to do that.  So these flatbreads weren't exactly like what we'd had there, but they came out delicious anyway, and will definitely become a staple in our menu.

Basic flatbread recipe:

1-1/3 c. flour.  I used white flour today, but will definitely be experimenting with whole wheat next time.
1/2 tsp. yeast.  I think I used the wrong kind the first time, because it didn't rise, but the 2nd one didn't either. I think I don't have the right yeast, period.
1/2 c. water
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. salt - I used Lawry's garlic salt

Mix the water with the yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes. It should get frosthy.

While that is setting, mix together the flour, salt and olive oil.  Once the yeast mixture is frothy, mix that into the flour mixture and knead for 2 minutes.  I figure that at this point, I'll add other herbs to the dough once I settle on what I want to use.  For now, though, just using the garlic salt gave the bread a really good taste so that eating it all by itself was still very tasty.  Sit the dough in a warm place, covered with plastic wrap. 

Meanwhile, I heated my grill on high.  The temp got to about 200 degrees or so, I believe.  I only used one burner.  Once the dough had risen, I cut it into 4 sections.  One by one, I rolled it out to a verrrry thin sheet, , lightly brushed it with olive oil, lifted the lid to the grill and, while holding my breath, placed it directly onto the grill's grill.    The heat, though, was such that my dough didn't sag through!  I was thrilled!  I closed the top and waited, MAYYYYBe a minute or so, and checked it, just to be sure.  It was fine.  The edges were getting toasty, and so I took my spatula and checked it's bottom.  It was also getting nicely brown, so at that point, I flipped it.  It probably took about 2 minutes per side, but of course, your grill, and mileage, may vary.

After the first one, where I found that the taste by itself was excellent, I decided to experiment, and while the second one was cooking, I sliced some roma tomato very thinly and put them on the 2nd side.  For the 3rd, I put some more tomato AND some thinly sliced basil.  For #4, I used freshly grated parmesan and more basil.

Unfortunately, I got so distracted with my toppings that I let the flatbreads cook a little too much, but even though they were a bit crunchy, they still turned out wonderfully!

I can't wait to try new ingredients and new toppings and you can be sure, I'll share them with you!

I think I need this book next: