This dish was inspired by our trip to the farmer’s market. We are swimming in veggies so we went only for eggs (no chickens….yet). We ended up with our eggs and also some locally made sun-dried tomato, basil and garlic sheep’s milk ricotta cheese from Back Sheep Creamery. Do you ever buy something thinking, how am I going to use this? Well this cheese was just that for us, a total impulse buy given that we have no crackers on hand, which is how we would usually demolish something like this. I thought it might be good on some flatbread and I have been a pizza-dough-making-machine lately so that was the suggestion I made to the hubs. He approved.
So for the last couple of days I have been thinking about my cheese, my flatbread idea and possible flavor combinations. The recipe below is what was born of that and I warn you, IT IS GOOD. Last week we tried a new restaurant by one of our favorite chefs, the Sunshine Tavern, brain child of Jenn Louis and her hubs. It was awesome, she really hit the nail on the head…again (see Lincoln). I ordered a pizza that was finished with olive oil and finishing salt and this flatbread is clearly a product of my eating that meal. It was really exciting, dinner at Sunshine, we got to eat at the chef’s table, way cool. While this is not a review, if you are in Portland, eat there and order the Chicken Liver Mousse appetizer, the Fried Chicken Sandwich, and some pizza. You are in for a treat.
As an aside that actually applies to this recipe: If you don’t like fresh soft sheep or goat cheese you can purchase some spreadable flavored cheese. If you do like it but cannot find it flavored, you can use it plain or mix in your own garlic and herbs to flavor it.
Ingredients (this makes two small pizza-sized flat breads, or one really big one)
1/2 ball of quick pizza dough (about 12 oz)
2 T high quality olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T each fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, rosemary, minced
4 oz cheese spread, room temperature (back up options: Alouette or Goldy’s)
Optional: fresh cracked black pepper and finishing salt.
Preheat a pizza stone on the grill for at least 15 minutes to achieve an ambient grill temp of 400-425 or in a 500 degree oven. Reduce oven heat to 450 when you put in the flatbread.
If you are making your dough right now, do that first. Then combine olive oil and minced garlic. Set aside and get the rest of your toppings prepped.
Divide dough into two balls. Pull or roll it out to a thin crust. Flour a pizza peel with ample amounts of cornmeal and place one of the stretched crusts on it. Press down to make sure the cornmeal sticks to the dough and that the dough still slides. If it sticks, move it add more meal. Gently spread 2 oz of cheese over the crust. Drizzle the cheese with half of the olive oil and garlic (a fork works well for this, just make sure to get chunks of garlic too). Sprinkle half of the herbs on top.
Place the crust on the preheated pizza stone and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is as done as you would like, with the grill lid closed. If you use the oven just monitor and take out when golden and bubbly and done to your likeness. Sprinkle with finishing salt and freshly cracked black pepper if you wish. Cut and serve piping hot. Repeat with the second crust (if you took the two ball method).
If you are looking for some more toppings for this I would suggest roast chicken (which I added), thinly sliced red onions, or maybe some sliced spring pea pods. You could also finish it with a little shredded parmesan or manchego cheese instead of finishing salt.