Thursday, June 4, 2009

Parmesean Crusted Flatbread with Arugula, Prosciutto, Cantaloupe with lemon vinaigrette

For GLH who gave me her pizza stone and pizza peel.

Having a child with severe food allergies (son) has knocked the life and enjoyment out of eating out as a family. If we do go out, I have to pack separate food for him, worry about if he's going to eat something off the table that he shouldn't, and it essentially kills the joy of eating out. But every cloud has a silver lining; it's actually made me a better cook, because now, if I want to eat something, I have to make it.

Hence the obsession with pizza dough - because I do love really delicious wood-fired pizzas, and I love the arugula topped salad type pizzas. One lovely friend gave me her pizza stone and pizza peel and I've been fiddling with a pizza stone on my outdoor gas grill as an alternative to heating up an oven, and may I just say - I LOVE IT! There is a slight art to it, as the few burnt pizzas and flatbreads attest to, but I can say now, I really understand how to make my pizza stone turn out beautiful pizzas and flatbreads.

This salad is perfect for a weeknight appetizer or meal (very light meal.) It's great because you can give you kids their own homemade pizzas while you eat this incredibly deluxe and fancy meal - that essentially takes no time at all to put together. (arugula in a bag, cantaloupe cut, squeeze lemon,throw on top of pizza - TADA!) It's slightly salty, tart, sweet, tangy - all in one. I got to enjoy this while daughters enjoyed their roasted tomato, basil, mozzarella pizza - and it almost felt like I was eating out. Well, almost, because I essentially was the waiter, the cook and the cashier, but you get the idea.

I'm still loving the pizza dough (for pictures) I made a couple weeks back and I'm still fiddling around with proportions of wheat and white flour. I do like about 3 cups of white whole wheat flour to 3 1/2 cups of white flour. I've done a full white whole wheat dough and although tasty, I found was almost too chewy for a great pizza dough.

Olive Oil Master Dough (from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)
Makes 4 1lb loaves. This recipe is easily doubled or halved

2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (I bought the Fleishman's Yeast in a jar, and then stored it in my fridge after opening)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar (I substituted 2 tablespoons of honey)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used 3 1/2 cups regular unbleached all purpose flour and 3 cups whole wheat white flour)

1. Mix the yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil with the water in a 5-qt bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a large wooden spoon. (because of my hand problem, I did use my stand mixer with the dough hook. You do NOT need a stand mixer, just mix with a large wooden spoon.)

3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature for about 2 hours. It will rise and get super big. You can use the dough at this point, or refrigerate and use over next 12 days.To make one flatbread, pinch off a grapefruit sized piece of dough. When you do this, your dough will deflate. This is okay, as it will rise again later. Loosely cover and refrigerate the rest to use over the next 12 days. (or less if you are a motivated flatbread maker like me!)

** Preparation tip - make this Sunday night, after the kids are in'll take you 15 minutes to make. Let it rise and then stick it in the fridge to have hand for the week of food you can make with it.

Parmesan Crusted Flatbread with Arugula, Prosciutto, Cantaloupe Salad
Serves 2

1 grapefruit sized chunk of pizza dough. (make your own or buy some) If you are using cold dough, let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes.
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, shredded, grated, or thin slices

1/2 of a really good ripe cantaloupe diced (I used an heirloom seed Tuscan - smaller but so much sweeter and amazing)
4-5 slices of prosciutto, sliced into two inch pieces
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups of arugula, washed and spun dry
salt and pepper to taste

On top of the grill instructions (Requires pizza stone) Unfortunately I have a gas grill and no good way to explain how to use a charcoal. You could experiment or simply use the oven directions.

Heat up your pizza stone on your grill with the lid closed. A good 10-15 minutes should do it.
Flour your surface and roll out your dough into a good sized circle. The thinner you roll the crisper your flatbread.

I've had problems moving a fully assembled pizza onto the grill (my own lack of talent possibly) so I've started assembling on the grill - which can be good, but also can be bad due to loss of heat. If you are a talented pizza peel user, please use it and assemble before hand if you can.

Open the grill and lay your dough disk onto the pizza stone. (slight sizzle) Brush entire surface with olive oil. Sprinkle 1/2 cup parmesean cheese all over surface. Turn down grill heat to low, so you can bake the top and not burn the bottom. This will bake for about 8-10 minutes depending on your grill heat.

While flatbread is cooking, assemble salad. Toss arugula with lemon juice and olive oil. As soon as flatbread is ready, when the bottom is nice and crisp and brown and the cheese is all melted and brown, remove from heat and place arugula on top. Attractively lay the cantaloupe and prosciutto pieces on top as well. Sprinkle with black pepper. Serve immediately.

In the oven instructions

Preheat oven to 500. Place pizza stone or inverted cookie sheet inside. Preheat for about 15 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out or stretch out dough into a good sized circle (or other shape that seems to form - you can cut into attractive pieces later.)

Working quickly, place dough on top of preheated cookie sheet/pizza stone. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 7-8 minutes, or until flatbread is nice and golden brown on top.

While flatbread is cooking, assemble salad. Toss arugula with lemon juice and olive oil. As soon as flatbread is ready, when the bottom is nice and crisp and brown and the cheese is all melted and brown, remove from heat and place arugula on top. Attractively lay the cantaloupe and prosciutto pieces on top as well. Sprinkle with black pepper. Serve immediately.

Printable recipe


Marta said...

Children food allergies can be defeating at first, but with a little creativity they can be conquered and delicious meals shouldn't be a problem!
This flatbread looks fantastic and healthy, perfect for everybody :)

Joanne Choi said...

Thanks Marta for the encouragement. There are many days I just want to throw my hands up in the air, but it's getting much easier for me to deal with all the nuttiness.

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