Monday, October 6, 2008

Grilled Flatbread w/ Fresh Ricotta, Artichokes, Anchovies and Wine Soaked Olives

Fresh ricotta...! I really think it's underrated. Cool and creamy with a slight hint of sweetness, I think it adds a nice balance to other strong flavors, in this case olives and anchovies. I can't seem to get enough of these kalamata olives, marinated in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, vinegar and herbs, if you can find them, buy 10 jars! They are THAT good! Rewinding a bit I had originally picked up this ricotta from my local Italian store for this breakfast panini I wanted to make. Ricotta in a breakfast panini? Hear me out! Also stuffed with medjool dates, hazelnut butter and mashed banana the warmth of the panini press makes the hazelnut butter, banana and ricotta get a bit gooey and melty. It's almost like a sweet version of a grilled cheese! Okay that sounds so wrong but I swear its soo good! Another favorite of mine is fresh ricotta drizzled with local honey, a sprinkle of chocolate chunks and crushed up amaretti cookies. Sweet, creamy and crunchy. Back to the savory usage of ricotta, I really wasn't in the mood for a cheesy pizza but something lighter, so flatbread seemed like the way to go. Moral of the story? Go get some ricotta and put it on everything....sweet or savory!

Grilled Flatbread w/ Fresh Ricotta, Artichokes, Anchovies and Wine Soaked Olives (Makes 1 flatbread)
1 tsp yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water
1 1/2 cups bread flour or all purpose flour (I used 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 white flour)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tsp to grease the bowl you proof it in
1. Combine yeast, warm water and sugar, let sit 5-10 min till the yeast puffs up
2. Place yeast mixture in mixer, add olive oil and mix. (Start with paddle attachment), or if by hand, start with a spoon and then use your hands to incorporate the rest.
3. Slowly add ½ the flour, add salt and add in the rest of the flour. Change to dough hook
4. Mix for 1 minute until dough comes together, might have to add a bit more flour, should be soft but not to sticky. Knead by hand for 20 seconds
5. Place in a bowl coated with the remaining oil, make sure to coat dough in oil as well, place saran wrap over top and let proof (rise) for about 1 hr to 1½ hrs.

Toppings (all optional):
Light base of San Marzano tomato sauce
Fresh Ricotta Cheese
Kalamata Olives
Roasted Red Bell Peppers
Fresh basil
Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

1.Preheat bbq on high
2.Roll out dough until thin, can be odd shaped, coat both sides of dough with olive oil and cornmeal. Place on baking sheet
3.Place dough on grill and cover lid for 1-1 1/2 min, bottom side should have grill marks but not be completely burnt, flip dough over and cook the other side with bbq lid down. Dough is done when you can knock on it and it sounds hollow.
4. Place toppings on flatbread and warm through. (I usually do this in the oven). Finish with shaved parm and fresh torn basil.

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