A friend of mine married a man from Turkey whose amazing cooking got me interested in food from that part of the world. One of my favorite dishes (among many favorites!) is the stuffed flatbreads. This flatbread is a creation inspired by some of Paula Wolfert's recipes and by a za-atar flavored burrata I once had. It's fragrant, flavorful, and wonderfully gooey. When figs are in season, I replace the greens with sliced figs and a drizzle of honey to make a sweet version. I adore both, but I think this savory one takes the cake. —fiveandspice
Test Kitchen Notes
For the filling, I just blanched the greens and garlic instead of cooking for ten minutes. Then the final cook in the pan was more like 7 minutes just dry it out a bit. It was easy and turned out yummy. Only thing was it was more like 15 minutes bake time. But I think that's because my oven on broil only goes to 500° F. —Stephanie Bourgeois
8 hours 30 minutes
4-6 as a lunch or light meal
For the flatbread dough
1 1/2 cups
all purpose flour
For the stuffed flatbread
spinach (or other cooking green like chard or kale)
cloves of garlic, peeled
salt and pepper to taste
fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces
You can either combine the ingredients in a food processor or mix them by hand in a bowl. First combine the flour and salt, then mix in the olive oil and lemon juice. Pour in the water while mixing, forming a crumbly dough.
Press the dough together into a ball, then knead for a couple of minutes on a very lightly floured surface (if the dough is too dry, add in another splash of water). Divide the dough into two equal sized balls, then flatten each into a disk. Rub the disks with a little more olive oil and wrap them in plastic wrap and allow them to chill in the refrigerator over night or up to several days.
When ready to use, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to return to room temperature. Then, on a lightly floured surface, roll out each disk into a thin (about 1/8 inch thick) circle. It should be over a foot in diameter. To fill and bake the flatbread, see below.
For the stuffed flatbread
Wash the spinach and parsley and cut off the bottoms of the stems. Steam the spinach, parsley, and whole garlic cloves for 10 minutes, then allow to cool.
Squeeze some of the excess water out of the greens, then coarsely chop. Smash the garlic cloves to a paste.
In a large sautee pan, heat the olive oil over medium, then add the garlic paste and Za-atar. Stir for a couple of minutes for the spices to release their fragrance, then stir in the chopped greens to coat with the spices. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the greens are somewhat dried. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Next, assemble and bake the flatbreads: Preheat the oven to 550° F with a pizza stone in it. On a lightly floured surface, top the bottom rolled out dough round with mozzarella slices leaving a small amount of space around the edges. Spread the greens over the mozzarella. Dot the yogurt all over the top of the greens, then lightly spread it out a bit. Lay the other rolled out dough round on top.
Pinch and press the bottom and top edges together to seal (it can help to moisten your fingers a bit). Lightly brush the top of the dough with olive oil, and if desired sprinkle with sesame seeds. Make a few short gashes in the center of the top of the bread for steam to escape.
Use a pizza peel to move the stuffed dough into the oven onto the pizza stone (if you don’t have a pizza stone, it works fine to make and bake the flatbread on a greased cookie sheet). Bake, keeping the oven door closed!, for about 10 minutes. The bread will be golden with brown splotches and the cheese will be bubbling.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve. A chopped cucumber, tomato, and chickpea salad makes a wonderful accompaniment as does tabbouleh.
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.