Seasonal Vegetables on Flatbread from Chef John
When we asked Chef John for a nice springtime recipe, wow, he did not disappoint! As the calendar takes us closer to spring, we are planning our gardens and getting ready to prepare lighter fare. John says, "a weekly recipe for me, at home (and a seasonal appetizer at Glenlaurel), is pizza. It's fun and easy, and the only down side...you may never eat pizza "out" again."
We do not often think of 'pizza' as a light meal, but when made from scratch and topped with fresh veggies and herbs, it is such a delight.
The first spring veggies are fennel and asparagus, so be on the lookout for them as farmer's markets start opening for the season. All throughout the warmer months, get creative and be inspired with the variety available...change up the sauce or add fresh, shaved prosciutto.
Let the flatbread be your canvas to enjoy the season’s bounty.
Flatbread with Grilled Spring Vegetables
For the Flatbread
2 ½ tsp active yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups flour
Add corn meal to a prepared pizza pan or stone. Place water, sugar, and yeast in a medium bowl, stir to moisten and let stand for 5 minutes. Add flour and stir into a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead dough until smooth. If dough becomes too sticky, dust with flour. Put back into bowl and let rise, covered, for about 45 minutes to an hour, until dough doubles in size. Prepare the vegetables while dough is rising. You’ll need:
1 pound fresh spring asparagus
2 bulbs fennel bulbs
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
½ chopped fresh garlic
¼ cup chopped fresh oregano
2 cups shaved parmesan cheese
6 ounces goat cheese
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Wash asparagus and fennel
Cut the bottom 1/3 off the asparagus (save for soup or stock) and set top portion aside in a small bowl. Cut the fronds off the fennel just above the blub. Cut the bulb in half and remove the core. Pull apart the layers of the blub and place in bowl with the asparagus. Add two tablespoons of EVOO in the bowl and season with salt and pepper, toss to coat. Pre-heat gas grill for 10 minutes on high; if you have a vegetable grilling platter for your grill this is the best time to use it. Grill vegetables until lightly charred, the asparagus will most likely be done before the fennel. As the vegetables are cooked set aside on a plate to cool.
Check your dough. When doubled, turn out onto a floured surface, divide in half and roll each half of dough into a rectangle (about a 1/8th of an inch thick). Place dough on prepared pizza pan or stone. Drizzle with EVOO and spread evenly. Place veggies evenly over dough and top with equal parts of asparagus and fennel. Top with shaved parmesan cheese and dot with little balls of goat cheese. Grind fresh black pepper over the flatbread and sprinkle with chopped fresh oregano. Place is a preheated 475 degree oven on the lower shelf for about 12 minutes or until the goat cheese is slightly brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Note: You can keep prepared dough in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days prior to using.