This is going to be trouble. When I spotted these flatbreads a few weeks ago on the blog Marcellina in Cucina, they immediately reminded me of what's heaped in a basket at you sit down to eat at Cafe Fiorello, a New York City restaurant across the street from Lincoln Center. I've munched on that basket of flatbreads dozens of times over the years before heading to the opera or ballet but never managed to make them at home. Not that I tried.. until now. And as I write this, having eaten four of these flatbreads in a row, (one with a fresh avocado smeared over it) I'm wondering whether finding this recipe was such a good thing. They're seriously addictive. If I don't stash the rest of them in a tin far from my sight, I may scarf down the rest before I finish writing this. That would be a shame, not because they're laden with calories, but because they're the perfect thing for sharing with friends over a glass of wine.
They're not hard to make either, even for those of you who are yeast-averse. They just take a while to bake because there are so many of them and your oven can only hold a couple of baking sheets at a time. I mixed the minced rosemary right into the dough, rather than sprinkle it only on top before baking.
After the dough has risen for an hour or so, separate it into 16 pieces.
Then roll them out and don't worry if they're misshapen or larger or smaller than the recipe calls for. Brush with egg yolk and sprinkle with sea salt. For some, I used a fleur de sel. For others, I used a homemade dried herbs and sea salt combination. You can experiment and use any herbs and/or spices you like.
They look attractive in a basket, but they're large, so you'll want to break them into smaller pieces for serving. Drinks not included.
For another take on these flatbreads, take a look at Antonietta's version of Fiorello's flatbreads at her blog Cipolli.
(240 ml) warm water (about 110 F/43 C)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (2 ¾ gm) active dry yeast
3 cups (720 ml) (420 gm) (15 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, plus more for rolling
3 tablespoons (45 ml) of extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt (I used 1 tsp.)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) sugar
1 large egg whisked with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) water, for egg wash
sea salt, for sprinkling
1/4 cup (60 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) fresh rosemary or thyme ( I used minced rosemary)
(homemade seasoned salt made by combining dried homegrown herbs with sea salt)
Place the water in a medium sized bowl and sprinkle the yeast. Let stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, oil, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and the sugar. Stir until a dough forms. Add the minced rosemary.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Use as much flour as necessary so it is not a sticky dough. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and roll the dough around in the bowl so that it is also lightly oiled on the surface. Cover with saran wrap. Let stand in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Divide dough into 16 equal portions and cover with plastic wrap. Roll out each piece to approximately 4"x10" (10cm x 26cm) on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with the egg mixture and sprinkle with sea salt and herbs (or homemade seasoned salt.)
Bake, rotating sheet halfway through baking, until crisp and golden, 18-22 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Storage and Freezing Instructions/Tips: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month. Prolong the freshness by freezing for up to 3 months.