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Posts Tagged ‘herb flatbread’

Caramelized onions have become pretty common and ubiquitous. They’re everywhere, gleaming from tart crusts and mixed with all sorts of extras and I should be really tired of them, shouldn’t I?

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But I still find myself slicing an enormous pile of onions, ridiculous in it’s volume and placing them in my 25-year old skillet with the high sides to contain the mass. There’s a nice shimmery pool of olive oil and butter awaiting those translucent slices, and even though my mind is telling me that it’s way too much- did I really need to slice all five of those huge things?- I have to calmly tell myself that with patience and time, some brown sugar, a little kosher salt and a hundred or so turns of the spoon,  it will reduce itself appropriately to fit into a two-cup container. And it does. I must feel I have precious little else to do with my time but keep watch over a pan on the stove for an hour or so.

As the mass cooks and pops, and I stir, stir, stir and stir some more to cook them as evenly as possible, I find myself poking through the fridge to see what I can do to kick my inner Iron Chef into action. Sure, I may think that making a big pan of these burnished beauties is a fine idea, in reality, I often jump into a process of cooking with nary a hint of what my final outcome of that ingredient will be. But I am creative. Something always happens. I pull out the half decimated container of fresh sage leaves and wonder ‘Hey! Haven’t I heard something about frying sage leaves?’ and then I think that fried sage leaves would be amazing with those onions so pretty soon my house is even more fragrant and I find myself glad that I am home by myself at this point. It’s unfair to subject anyone to amazing cooking smells when you have no idea how you plan to utilize it all.

So let’s back up, shall we? There’s the onions, the fried sage leaves crumbled to crispy bits and a container of gorgonzola. All this combination really needs is some sort of vehicle to get it to my mouth. Crostini? A spoon? Fingers?

Flatbread? With spinach pesto??

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Somebody pinch me. I’ve created heaven. If I disappear for a bit in a daze of an herb and onion induced food coma, honed to razor sharp perfection by gooey gorgonzola, this might be why.

For the flatbread recipe, go HERE.

For the spinach pesto recipe, go HERE.

And if you’re looking for something really simple but with incredible flavor, make these garlic and lemon infused white beans, and then stir some of the onions into them. Hmmm…..this could be heaven too. It’s a toss-up.

Oh and then as if that wasn’t enough, I added them to roasted garlic and sauteed shrimp and lots of fresh herbs that went over delightfully toothsome whole grain pasta, and it turns out that something celestial happened right there in that dish as well.

Sorry….have I just made you hungry???

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So you want to hear something that sounds a little weird to me? I like beets, and not only do I like beets, but I absolutely LOVE beet greens. I think I can officially be called a grown-up now. I think….

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Anyway, why is this such a revelation? Due to the fact that just a few short years ago, I couldn’t be persuaded to even consider the beet, it stands to reason that for me to kindly elbow my way to the front of my favorite Farmers Market organic vendor and snatch the last bunch of his bi-colored beets off the table is little short of miraculous. What’s more miraculous is that he is but one of only a few vendors that I see at my local weekly stops that A) actually has beets other than red ones, B) has beets with stunningly gorgeous greens and C) has beets with the green still attached, period.

Why farmers hack off those nutrient rich leaves I’ll never know. Beet greens are nutritional powerhouses, chock full of Vitamins A, B-6 and C, antioxidants like beta carotene and lutein and they are full of fiber, zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and iron. There’s no saturated fat and no cholesterol in beet greens, and with a quick saute and a few seasonings, you get a delicious option for your plate. A cup of greens will set you back a measly 10 calories or so.

I recently experimented with Spinach Pesto, much to our delight (and Griffin’s chagrin) and so it wasn’t without much thought that I considered another go-round of Pesto with the slowly growing pile of beet greens that I was accumulating. A quick search for recipes or methods turned up little on actually making a Pesto with the greens, and not like it’s much to consider what with a food processor, some good olive oil, a little garlic and a few seasonings, that I would be well on my way to a glistening dish of green goodness without much of a recipe to follow. Pesto is pesto…. the method is still the same.  I knew the greens couldn’t be used raw like spinach can, so I decided a quick sauté was in order.

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I decided to use caramelized leek and garlic as a good base for this pesto, something that would have a lot of flavor to stand up to the commanding taste of the beet green. After a slow saute to a deep golden brown, I dropped the beet greens into the same pan, stirring and tossing them with the hot leeks, and watched carefully to get them to a point of losing their crunchy texture, but not so far as to make them fully cooked. I left them dark green with some toothsome bite, then scraped them onto a baking sheet to cool. The whole thing was placed in the food processor, with olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, then whizzed to the perfect consistency.

Wow. This is one amazing flavor, let me tell you. Perfect for pasta, as would be expected, but also good for spreading on my favorite herb flatbread and topping with an array of roasted and julienned beets, a drizzle of good herb vinaigrette and a sprinkle of nuts.

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Perfect Herb Flatbread

1- 3/4 c. AP flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2-3 T. fresh herb of choice
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. good quality olive oil

Heat oven to 450° and place a round baking stone in oven.

Blend dry ingredients, including herbs together in a bowl. Slowly add water and oil and blend until a somewhat stiff dough forms. Turn out onto parchment paper and knead gently about 4 or 5 times to pull the dough together. Roll into a large 10-12″ circle with a rolling pin, sprinkle with sea salt and a drizzle of oil and place, with parchment, on heated stone. Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until browned in some spots. Remove from oven and cool. Do not leave on baking stone or it will continue to bake!

Dough can be divided into smaller portions and rolled out separately to smaller circles.

If you don’t have a baking stone, place the dough (on the parchment) right onto the rack of your oven. It may come out a little rippled.

I roasted these beets, wrapped in foil and in a 400° oven until they were nice and tender. The skins slip right off once cooled and they keep for several days in the fridge.

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Herb Flatbread (from Gourmet magazine)
1 3/4 c. unbleached flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1-2 T. fresh herb of choice
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. oil

Heat oven to 450 with a pizza stone on middle rack. Combine dry ingredients and herbs. Make well in center and pour in oil and water. Stir with spoon until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto parchment paper and knead about 5-6 times to bring dough together. Can be divided into 2-3 small balls and rolled flat, or rolled out as one large circle. Drizzle olive oil over top, sprinkle with sea salt and more herb and transfer, parchment and all to heated stone. Bake until browned in spots and fragrant- time will depend on how thin dough is rolled. Remove from oven and cool (don’t cool on stone- it will continue to bake). Slice with pizza cutter and enjoy.

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