Flatbread with Chard and Manchego
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Prep Time: 120 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Spain’s answer to pizza is this crisp flatbread, baked with a variety of sweet and savory toppings. Excellent cut into small wedges and served as an hors d’oeuvre, it also makes a satisfying vegetarian supper served with a salad and a glass of crisp Spanish white wine.
For the dough:
- 1 tsp. active dry yeast
- 3⁄4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) warm water (100° to 110°F/38° to 43°C)
- Olive oil as needed
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 2 to 2 1⁄2 cups (10 to 12 1⁄2 oz./ 315 to 390 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
For the topping:
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1⁄2 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika
- 1⁄4 tsp. sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 lb. (1 kg) Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1⁄4 cup (1 1⁄2 oz./45 g) raisins, soaked in hot water until soft
- 3 Tbs. pine nuts
- 1⁄3 cup (1⁄2 oz./15 g) chopped fresh mint
- 1⁄4 lb. (125 g) Manchego cheese, crumbled or cut into small chunks
Directions:To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Let stand until slightly foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbs. olive oil and the salt.
To mix using a stand mixer, fit the mixer with the dough hook. Add 2 cups (10 oz./315 g) of the flour and beat on medium speed until evenly moistened. Gradually beat in up to 1⁄2 cup (2 1⁄2 oz./75 g) more flour, 1⁄4 cup (1 1⁄2 oz./45 g) at a time, until the mixture comes together into a soft dough. Beat on high speed until the dough is smooth and elastic but still soft and slightly sticky to the touch, about 10 minutes. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom.
To mix by hand, add 2 cups (10 oz./315 g) of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until evenly moistened. Gradually stir in up to 1⁄2 cup (2 1⁄2 oz./75 g) more flour, 1⁄4 cup (1 1⁄2 oz./45 g) at a time, until the mixture comes together into a soft dough. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured board. Knead until it is smooth and velvety, 10 to 12 minutes, adding more flour to the board as needed to prevent sticking.
Form the dough into a ball, put in a clean, lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a dry kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1⁄4 hours.
Meanwhile, make the topping. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Add the chard and cook, stirring often, until the leaves are wilted and most of the liquid has cooked away. Stir in the raisins, pine nuts and mint.
About 20 minutes before baking, or 40 minutes if using a baking stone, position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Place a baking stone on the rack, if desired, and preheat to 400°F (200°C). Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Press gently to expel air. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Gently stretch the dough into an 11-by-14-inch (28-by-35-cm) oval and place on the prepared pan. Spread the chard mixture evenly over the dough and scatter the cheese on top. Let stand until slightly puffy, about 15 minutes.
Bake until the crust is golden, 18 to 20 minutes. If using a baking stone, slide the bread directly onto the stone for the last 5 minutes of baking. Serve warm. Makes 1 large flatbread.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Mediterranean Cooking, by Charity Ferreira, Dana Jacobi and Carolyn Miller (Weldon Owen, 2008)