We are at the beach this week and even though there was a point when we were trying to pile the toddler, his 55 favorite toys including a full-sized tricycle, me, my 25 kitchen necessities including, apparently, a meat thermometer and the serrated peeler one of you told me about a few weeks ago that I now can’t live without, the beach towels, blankets, umbrellas, sandcastle-shaped bucket, toddler bed bars, a box of groceries and my husband (happy anniversary, baby!) in our little car that we thought we should really just stay home instead, it wasn’t long into our drive onto the North Fork, passing miles of farms, leave-your-money-in-the-box roadside blackberry stands, dilapidated barns, impeccably kept houses, and more grape vines than you could count in your lifetime that we were unwaveringly certain we were back where we were meant to be.
It’s so quiet here that the days feel longer, virtually distraction-free. We’ve been beaching in the morning, adventuring with the toddler in the afternoons and cooking up a storm for dinner each night. We had a mash-up of Molly’s Dry-Rubbed Ribs and Harold McGee’s Oven Ribs (that I really have to reassemble here one day, with some streamlining) one night (with corn and an heirloom caprese), and last night, we had a tiny dinner party with friends that are in town with sugar steaks (a recipe I’ve only been promising you for a year), a crunchy Greek salad and this old favorite potato salad. Are you around? You should come over for dinner. We tend to make too much.
I didn’t make this flatbread here but it would fit in perfectly would I want to repeat this dinner from last week. About a month ago, I saw the chard lined up next to the corn and leeks at a farm stand and couldn’t get the combination out of my head. It was the most mid-summery combination I could imagine and I debated assembling the three into a galette (but wasn’t in the mood for a buttery crust; am I broken?), pizza (but it would require more cheese than I thought necessary; ditto, broken?) and finally just decided to call it flatbread, though we’re still going to just use a pizza dough. So to make this as unnecessarily confusing as possible.
These three ingredients cooked together play off each other fantastically; the leeks get deep and sweet; the chard wilts but retains its bulk and the corn kernels crunch across the top. I scattered the top with soft goat cheese, but you could just as easily soften it and spread it thinly under the ingredients, as we did here. Whatever you do, I implore you to make this before the endless piles of summer corn are a distant memory.
One year ago: Naked Tomato Sauce
Two years ago: Fresh Tomato Sauce
Three years ago: Tomato and Corn Pie
Four years ago: Crisp Rosemary Flatbread and Marinated Eggplant with Capers and Mint
Five years ago: Double Chocolate Torte
Leek, Corn and Chard Flatbread with Goat Cheese
I tend to make things with small yields that are easily scaled up, but this will yield two big flatbreads. (We find that one feeds the three of us for a light dinner, unless the toddler has an unusually large appetite. Then things get ugly.) Honestly, I was trying to scale the recipe to the size these vegetables are typically sold in. (I.e. Wouldn’t half an ear of corn be an annoying amount?) Nevertheless, you can of course half this recipe, but the good news is, if you don’t, we found this reheated really nicely for a second dinner. We ate it with a tomato salad, and one of the nights, we had some leftover chicken, too.
Should you have a grill at your disposal, I think this would make an unbelievable grilled flatbread. Here’s how: Prepare your filling and set it aside. Roll or stretch out your doughs. Get your grill going at a high temperature and brush the grates with oil. Throw the first raw dough down right on them. After a few minutes, it will be black and blistered underneath. Flip it off the grill, landing it ungrilled (top) side down on a platter. Spread half the filling over it and slide it back on the grill for 5 to 7 minutes with the top down, until charred slightly at the edges. Repeat with remaining filling and dough. Invite me over.
Because this tends to irk me in other recipes, it’s only fair that I warn you that the toppings will not glue to the flatbread. To do so would require a lot of melty cheese or wetter ingredients and really, this is delightful with neither. You can pick up squares with your hand (but no handsprings, okay?) or eat them with knife and fork. The flavors taste like they were always meant to be together, and if you’re me, you’ll miss it long after you’ve finished your leftovers.
Makes 2 large (9x13ish inches) flatbreads
About 1 1/2 pounds pizza dough (from two of these, or store-bought)
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 large leeks (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 12-ounce bundle chard or about 6 cups (6 ounces) of leaves, cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh corn kernels (cut from 1 to 2 medium ears corn)
Cornmeal, for sprinkling baking surface
4-ounce goat cheese log, cold
Trim the ends off your leeks and halve them lengthwise. Cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch half-rings. Fill a medium bowl with very cold water and drop in sliced leeks. Swish them around with your fingers, letting any sandy dirt fall to the bottom. Scoop out the leeks and drain them briefly on a towel, but no need to get them fully dry. Do the same with your chard ribbons, but you can leave the leaves on towels until they’re nearly fully dry, while you cook the leeks.
Heat your oven to 450 degrees.
Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add butter and oil and once they’re fully melted and a bit sizzly, add the leek slices. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook leek for 10 to 13 minutes, stirring occasionally. Raise heat back to medium, add the chard ribbons and cook until they wilt, about 4 minutes. Season mixture with salt and freshly ground black pepper, adding more if needed. Finally, add your corn kernels, cooking them with the leeks and chard for just another minute.
Sprinkle two baking sheets with cornmeal. If you have pesky old baking trays like I do, and your breads really like to stick to them, I find things will release more reliably if you first lightly spray them with an oil before sprinkling on the cornmeal. Roll or stretch half your dough into a rectangular-ish shape (flatbreads are prettiest when they’re irregularly shaped, in my humble opinion) and arrange it on the prepared sheet. Spread half the leek-corn-chard mixture on it. Sprinkle it with half the log of goat cheese, crumbled into small bits.
Bake flatbread in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges of the bread begin to brown slightly (they might brown more deeply in a better oven than they did in my lousy one). Repeat with remaining dough, filling and goat cheese.
To serve, slide each flatbread onto a cutting board and cut into 8 rectangles. Serve immediately.