Friday, August 22, 2008

crisp rosemary flatbread

rosemary flatbread

It took me until I was on some interminable wait on the phone last week with hold music so awful, they had to have done it on purpose, to finally get to flipping through the July 2008 Gourmet magazine. And if there were ever a spread that could lift you from your “love lifts us up where we belong” drudgery, it would be that gorgeous herb-focused spread near the back of the issue. (Like I said, it was a long hold time.)

rosemary, waiting

I immediately had to make it. All of it. And I can see I am not the only one. But to start, let’s talk about this recipe, something I think everyone in the entire world should have in their repertoire: Flatbread.

that's all there is

More cracker than bread, this stuff is dreamy. It comes together in about 15 seconds flat, bakes in about 10 minutes and if you don’t live in our apartment, will hopefully last a bit longer. It’s the perfect thing to scoop any summer salad or vegetable dish, including the one I’ll tell you about tomorrow (tease!). I also think it could be a great hostess gift, for all of you angling for invites to beach houses this Labor Day weekend. If you arrived at mine with this, a wedge of cheese and a bottle of wine, I’d never let you leave.

If only I actually had a beach house. I’ll get right on that.

that's all there is

Crisp Rosemary Flatbread
Adapted from Gourmet, July 2008

Nothing could be easier than making this cracker, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell people you slaved all day over it because they’re going to be impressed, really impressed, and I see no reason not to milk it.

I think you could easily swap the rosemary for other herbs, such as thyme or tarragon, or punch it up with black pepper or other spices, but personally, I like it just the way it is here.

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary plus 2 (6-inch) sprigs
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil plus more for brushing
Flaky sea salt such as Maldon

Preheat oven to 450°F with a heavy baking sheet on rack in middle.

Stir together flour, chopped rosemary, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in center, then add water and oil and gradually stir into flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead dough gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times.

Divide dough into 3 pieces and roll out 1 piece (keep remaining pieces covered with plastic wrap) on a sheet of parchment paper into a 10-inch round (shape can be rustic; dough should be thin).

Lightly brush top with additional oil and scatter small clusters of rosemary leaves on top, pressing in slightly. Sprinkle with sea salt. Slide round (still on parchment) onto preheated baking sheet and bake until pale golden and browned in spots, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer flatbread (discard parchment) to a rack to cool, then make 2 more rounds (1 at a time) on fresh parchment (do not oil or salt until just before baking). Break into pieces.

Flatbread can be made 2 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.


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