grilled zucchini + pesto flatbread


A good standby pizza dough recipe can be great for a lot of things. Pizza, of course, being the main one, but the possibilities only go on from there. This time I didn't venture too far off course (what is, I wonder, the main difference between pizza and flatbread, at least in this scenario), but the flavors help take us further away from pizza (not a tomato in sight) and welcome in warm weather with a bounty of fresh, summer squash.

For this recipe you'll need:

For the dough (makes 2 medium flatbreads):

1 1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup semolina flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 packet active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm (but not hot) water
1 teaspoon olive oil

For the topping:

2 large cloves of garlic
1/2 cup almonds, toasted
2 packed cups kale
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

A note on dough: if you double this recipe, you can always freeze half for dinner in a pinch later in the week. Just move from the freezer to the fridge in the morning and you should have defrosted, pliable dough in time for dinner. 

In a large, wide bowl, add both your flours and salt and make well in the center. In a small bowl, add your yeast to the lukewarm water and gently whisk together. Set this aside for about five minutes (or when the mixture starts to look foamy) then pour into the well along with your olive oil.

Using a fork and a circular movement, slowly bring in the flour from the inner edge of the well and mix into the water. When this gets difficult, transfer the dough to a clean, well-floured countertop and knead for about 10 minutes or until your dough comes together.

Once you've got it kneaded to correct consistency (think springy), place is a lightly greased bowl (olive oil works for this, too) and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Place in a warm spot (perhaps even the turned-off oven) and let rise for about 45 minutes, or doubled in size.

Once your dough is rising, preheat a grill pan. In a large bowl, toss your zucchini slices (the thinner the better) with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on the now-hot grill for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until you get those nice grill marks. Set aside to let cool for later use.

When your dough is just about done rising, preheat your oven to 500 degrees (if you've been letting it rise in there, be sure to take it out first - been there). Roll out your dough on a well floured surface then transfer your ready dough onto your pizza peel. (It's best to sprinkle your peel with a bit of cornmeal in order to make the transfer easier; insider trick if you find yourself cornmeal-less, a bit of dry quinoa will also work in a pinch.) Spread a generous amount of pesto on your ready dough, but work quickly: the super elastic dough is perfect for pizza but quickly absorbs any liquid making it sticky and harder to work with/transfer into the oven. Top with some zucchini slices (I also added a little last-minute caramelized onion and red pepper) and quickly transfer to your oven/stone in one swift movement.

After 10 minutes, peer in quickly to see if the crust has started to brown around the edges. If so, great. Open the oven further and give the edge of the crust a quick tap. Does it feel firm? Does it bounce back? If so, remove from the oven because this pizza is DONE. If it looks a little too pale or feels a little too soft or doesn't bounce back right away, keep waiting in 1-minute intervals or until the desired consistency is achieved.

And there you have it: pizza dough masquerading as a flatbread that has tons of flavor without too much effort because that's what happens when you stick to the seasonal stuff: better tasting food.