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Flatbreads are often unleavened, containing only flour, water, salt–and maybe some sort of fat and additional seasonings.  With the exception of Antarctica, every continent  has its own recipes for flatbread.  The number of varieties listed on Wikipedia is impressive. 

This version with fresh rosemary and shallots does not even require rolling out.  It begins as a batter and turns into a crisp bread in a hot oven and will be good even if  you bake it early and reheat it.

And its virtue does not end there with its obvious convenience.  This flatbread goes well with many soups and is a fine alternative to rolls or slices of baguette.   With a soup like the Apple and Celery one described here at the diplomatickitchen, the caramelized onion in the bread actually enhances the soup’s flavour combination.  What is more, because it’s full of shallots and herbs and is crisp enough to be picked up like a slice of pizza, Roasted Shallot and Fresh Rosemary Flatbread makes a good hors d’oeuvre all by itself.

Roasted Shallot and Fresh Rosemary Flatbread (for one 14″ round)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Whole Wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • about 1 and 1/2 cups of water
  • about 1/2 cup of purple shallots, sliced thinly:  other shallots or onions are good substitutes
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh rosemary, chopped and, if you like, more to sprinkle on the baked bread and sprigs to place alongside slices on plates
  • 4 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • fresh ground black pepper and salt

Equipment:

  • a 14″ cast iron pizza pan:  the bread in the photos is made in a Lodge Cast Iron Pizza Pan
  • a bowl
  • a whisk

1.  Put the flour in the bowl and slowly add the water, stirring with the whisk.  The batter should be like very thin pancake or crepe batter.  The amount of liquid is an approximation–add a little more flour if the batter seems too thin….it should coat a spoon lightly:

2.  Like crepe batter, flatbread batter ought to sit for an hour or so–or even longer.  It isn’t essential to let it rest, but the resting time can actually be a convenience since the batter can be mixed up early and ignored at room temperature for hours before baking:

3.  Oil the pan well, including its rim.  Scatter in the shallots and rosemary, grind some black pepper and salt over them and drizzle on the 4 Tablespoons of olive oil :

4.  Set the oven to 450 F.  Put the pan in the oven so that the shallots roast as the oven preheats.  Depending on the oven, the shallots may finish roasting at the same time as the oven reaches the set temperature–but it is a good idea to check occasionally–and when the shallots are wrinkling and beginning to brown, remove the pan from the oven if the temperature hasn’t yet reached 450 F.  (If you have removed the pan early, put it back in the 450 F oven for a minute or two so that the pan is very hot when you pour on the batter):

5.  Pour the batter over the shallots and tilt the pan to spread the batter around evenly.

6.  Bake the bread for about 15 minutes–but begin checking the bread after 12 minutes since ovens do not all bake alike.  When the bread is done, the top will be puffed and browned….

and the underside will lift easily from the pan:

7.  The bread may be left in the pan to be reheated later or transferred to a cutting board, sliced like a pizza, and if you like, sprinkled with more chopped rosemary:

A Note:  This Roasted Shallot and Fresh Rosemary Flatbread is served alongside Apple and Celery Soup with Sauteed Apple Rings in the Lunch Menu: Simply Delicious CombinationsThe bread may be an hors d’ouevre, too, and, either way, a small branch of fresh rosemary looks nice on a plate alongside it:

A Second Note:  If you are interested in making a thicker flatbread, or want to try ones made with other kinds of flour, food writer Mark Bittman’s post on the subject is a good guide and provided the recipe from which this Roasted Shallot and Fresh Rosemary Flatbread is adapted.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012

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