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Grilled Flatbread with Charred Shallots and Figs

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Figs are something I have let fall to the wayside in recent years. There was a time when I eagerly awaited the short windows of time when I was able to walk into my local grocery and purchase tender and sweet figs, and over the years they've worked their way into dishes on this site and off. The shift to almost entirely home cooking during the pandemic reminded me of the virtues of figs and the additional fodder they provide for recipes that offer something different from my usual rotation. So I picked up a package back in the fall and used some pantry staples to put together these grilled flatbreads with charred shallots and figs, then I wrote it up and scheduled the post for seven months from that date to remind to eat more figs when their first season hits in early summer.

This recipe was really born out of finding something new to do with figs that I purchased on a whim, and a pizza making session the day before I made these flatbreads left me with a desire to keep rolling with grilling dough. I have made many variations of flatbread dough throughout the years, but they were all doughs specialized for a specific cuisine, so I was looking for a more all-purpose recipe here and decided to try one out I saw on Food52. The hallmark of this high hydration dough is the large amount of extra-virgin olive oil in it, which I hoped would make this a flavorful bread without the long fermentation time I normally use to achieve that goal.

The first rise for the dough to double in volume took just under and hour, and during that downtime, I put together a balsamic glaze to use as a finishing drizzle on the flatbreads. I had a very small bottle of balsamic vinegar in the cupboard, so I poured the entire contents into a saucepan and added a little brown sugar to it. I then let the mixture simmer over medium-low heat until it reduced by half and had a spoon-coating thickness. When done, I removed from the heat and set aside.

Once the initial rise was finished, I transferred the dough to a well floured cutting board (it was a very sticky dough), divided it into four, and then formed each of those pieces into a ball. I set the portioned dough on a parchment lined baking sheet, covered with a damp cloth, and let it start the second rise, which took about 30 minutes.

During this time, I got everything else together needed for the final flatbreads so I could assemble them very quickly while the bread was still hot and at its very best. After lighting the fire, I cut up my figs into somewhat thin slices and also halved and peeled six small shallots.

The grill was ready to go after twenty minutes of ignition time, and I began by grilled the shallots, which I did over direct heat, placing them cut side down and just letting them cook until well charred. At this point they were somewhat tender, but not fully, so to finish them off, I flipped them over and grilled them until second side was also charred, which took less time than the first since they were already more than partially cooked. Once done, I transferred the shallots to a cutting board, removed the root ends that were holding them together on the grill, and then cut them into thin slices.

The shallots cooked pretty quickly, which was a good thing because the fire was still blazing hot to grill the bread, and a hot fire makes for the best flatbreads. I've rolled out other flatbreads I've made before, but this dough was so soft and stretchy, I went with freeform hand stretching this time. I did as best I could to get the bread even throughout, but, like with pizza dough, it was hard not to have a little extra heft around the edges with the center being thinner.

Happy enough with my globular oval shape, I carefully put the dough over the fire and let it cook until it began to brown a bit. I then flipped it over and browned on the second side and by then the bread was mostly cooked through, so I just kept flipping and moving it as needed to get it across the finish line and add a little extra color too.

As soon as the bread was off the grill, I brushed it with olive oil and assembled the final dish. I started with a layer of arugula, which I ended up going heavier on with subsequent flatbreads for an increased peppery character. Next went on the slices of figs and strips of shallots followed by dollops of a soft goat cheese and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. After slicing it up, I dug in and ate it while still pretty hot.

My first taste was of the bread, which had a nice crunch and chew, although it was not as flavorful as dough I let ferment for many more hours at room temperature or days in the fridge. That lighter touch though meant the toppings were more prominent, and for me it was the sweet and fruity figs that served as the centerpiece. Although there wasn't one in every bite, their presence was lasting and was elevated by the tangy and sugary glaze and given savory contrasts by the cheese, arugula, and shallots. I consumed a couple slices of this first flatbread before moving on and cooking the rest—wanting each one to be as fresh as possible when served. All-in-all, this was a good reminder that I need to get figs back into the rotation more, and having written this post mainly as a nudge to myself, you may see at least one more recipe featuring this dual seasoned fruit on the site before the year is out.
Published on Thu Jun 3, 2021 by Joshua Bousel

Print Recipe

Yield 4 servings

Prep 15 Minutes
Inactive 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Cook 20 Minutes
Total 2 Hours 5 Minutes

Ingredients
For the Balsamic Glaze
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
 
For the Dough
3 cups bread flour (396 g)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (3.5 g)
1 teaspoon instant yeast (4 g)
1 1/4 cups warm water (292.5 g)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (43 g)
 
For the Flatbread
6 small shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8oz fresh figs, thinly sliced
2 handfuls arugula (about 2 oz)
5oz soft goat cheese
Procedure
To make the balsamic glaze: Whisk together vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer until reduced by half and thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
To make the dough: Whisk together flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add water and oil and knead with dough hook on low speed until dough comes together. Increase speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer stand, cover with plastic wrap, and let dough rise at room temperature until roughly doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut into 4 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes more.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals evenly across charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate. Place shallots on grill, cut side down, and cook until well charred, about 5 minutes. Flip shallots over and continue to cook until well charred on second side, about 3 minutes more. Transfer shallots to a cutting board, remove root end, and cut into thin strips.
On a floured surface, stretch one piece of dough out into an oval roughly 1/8″ thick. Place dough on hot side of grill and cook until browned and lightly charred in spots. Flip bread and continue to cook until second side is browned and lightly charred in spots. Transfer bread to a cutting board and brush with olive oil. Place 1/4 of the arugula on top followed by slices of figs and shallots. Spoon on dollops of goat cheese and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Cut into slices and serve immediately. Repeat with remaining dough and toppings.
Dough recipe from Food52.

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By: meatmaster@meatwave.com (Joshua Bousel)
Title: Grilled Flatbread with Charred Shallots and Figs
Sourced From: meatwave.com/recipes/grilled-flatbread-with-charred-shallots-and-figs-recipe
Published Date: 06/03/21

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The Best Pizza Dough Recipe

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Add 1-¼ teaspoon of active dry yeast to a large bowl then add ½ teaspoons of sugar because that's what causes the yeast to get excited and start working.

Add 1 cup of water to the bowl that has been warmed to about 110°F.

Note: Filtered or spring water will taste best if you have it.

Stir things around with a spoon or whisk to dissolve the yeast then set a timer for 10 minutes.

During this time the yeast will get to work and you'll after about 8 minutes you'll see bubbles start to rise to the surface letting you know that it's almost time to move on.

Stir in 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the yeast mixture then add 2-¼ cups of the bread flour.

IMG 0031

I use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine everything and once it starts looking like dough, flour the work surface and your hands and it's time to start kneading it.

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I wear an Apple Watch and when I started kneading, it beeped and said, “it looks like you've started an elliptical workout, would you like me to record this workout” or something like that.

If you give me a choice to workout at the gym or workout by making dough, I'll choose the latter thank you very much!

Now, I must say that you can definitely do this in the mixer but I like to do it by hand. There's something very cathartic about kneading dough and I find it relaxing even if my watch does consider it a workout!

Here's how I knead and you may have your own method. You can also find dozens of methods online if you want to look it up.

I place the heels of my palms on the dough with my fingers facing slightly upwards and roll or push the dough forward about 10-12 inches. I then pick up the dough and move it back to the starting point and do that same maneuver again.

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I then turn the dough ¼ turn as I'm moving it back to the starting point and do that same roll/push maneuver 2 more times.

I do this over and over for about 8-10 minutes until the dough starts feeling very elastic.

I have found that the faster I knead, the less it sticks to my hands and the work surface.

Add flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking too much but you don't want to add much.. just a small amount.

The dough should be just a tad sticky for it to turn into a good pizza.

Form the finished dough into a ball then lightly flour it on all sides.

Place it back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in a warm place such as on top of the fridge or in the garage so it can rise for 1 hour.

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During this time the dough will double in size.

After the hour is up, you will see that it has gotten at least twice as big as it was.

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Remove the plastic wrap and punch it down with your fist.

Remove the ball from the bowl and lay it on the work surface. Use a knife to separate it into 2 equal pieces.

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Place each of those 2 pieces into a large gallon-sized zip top bag and place into the fridge for at least 3 hours. I have had the best luck with dough that has been in the fridge for 12+ hours.

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It continues to rise while it's in the fridge and this is known as the “cool rise”.

Leave in the fridge until you are ready to start making your pizzas.

I have read a LOT of pizza dough recipes and almost every one of them says to let your dough come to room temperature before stretching it.

This recipe proves that it is best to stretch the dough while it is still cold. Your hands will warm it up as you stretch it and if you're careful, you'll be able to do a 16″ diameter pizza with each of these balls that is very thin like the New York style. You can also stretch it less if you like a more traditional pizza.

To stretch the dough, hold it on the sides sort of like you'd hold the steering wheel of your car with your hands only a few inches from each other.

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Let the weight of the dough stretch itself as you move your hands around the circle.

The more the dough is stretched the faster the process goes.

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If it feels like it's going to tear, just rest it across your arm for a few seconds before continuing on.

When it's about the right size, lay it on the floured pizza peel and shape it into a circle.

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I love to make barbecue pizza which just means that I use barbecue sauce instead of pizza sauce and I use some leftover smoked meat such as pulled pork or pulled beef.

The other toppings can be whatever you like such as mozzarella cheese, cheddar, jalapeños, onions, etc.

Here's a typical layering:

  • barbecue sauce
  • fresh mozzarella
  • meat
  • onions
  • peppers
  • More mozzarella
  • shredded cheddar
  • Jalapenos

Here's one I made recently.. I like to load 'em up!

IMG 0166

If you're using a home oven, make sure your top oven rack is about 9-10 inches from the top of the oven. Place a pizza stone onto that rack and turn the oven on to 500°F.

Let it preheat for about 30 minutes then right before you are ready to cook your pizza, turn it to broil.

It will stay on broil throughout the cooking process.

At this point the pizza stone is around 500°F due to the preheat  and this is to brown and crisp the bottom of the crust.

The ambient temperature in the oven is 500°F with direct heat from the heating elements at the top of the oven for browning the top of the crust and melting the cheese from the top down.

These 2 heat sources will do a great job of cooking your pizza perfectly in about 8-12 minutes but ultimately, you'll need to keep an eye on the pizza and when it's the right color, the bottom is crisp and brown, and the cheese is melted, the pizza is ready to remove and slice.

I have a Camp Chef pizza oven that runs on propane and it's a joy to use. The home oven works well but the pizza oven is designed for pizza and if you love pizza, it's a great investment without spending a whole heckuva lot.

Light the pizza oven about 20 minutes before you're ready to bake your pizza.

The Camp Chef pizza oven that I use has a single burner and I have found that I can set it to just below medium to maintain a steady 550°F.

I also use an infrared thermometer to test the temperature of the stone but this is completely optional. If you preheat the oven for around 20 minutes, the stone will be about the same temperature as the ambient temperature.

Here you can see the VersaTop burner on the bottom and the pizza oven that sits on top of that burner. The VersaTop is purchased separately and includes a flat top griddle.

You can then purchase accessories that can be used with the VersaTop including a barbecue box and the artisan pizza oven that I use.

The VersaTop uses 1 lb propane bottles but you can get a hose that converts it to use a larger 20 lb bottle.

Here's what you'll need to get started:

VersaTop Burner with Griddle Model FTG250

Pizza Oven Accessory Model PZ30

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At this temperature, you can expect the pizza to get done in about 12 minutes but this will vary depending on your dough, amount of toppings, wind, etc.

Don't leave the pizza unattended and you'll be fine. Watch the pizza and when it's the right color, the bottom is brown and crisp and the cheese is bubbling, you can rest assured that it's about as perfect as can be.

IMG 0176

Using a pizza peel get easier with practice but I can tell you that I've used one quite a bit and I'm still not very good at it.

Make sure you flour your pizza peel really good before you place the dough on it.

When you ready to move the crust from the peel to the oven, hold it at about a 30 degree angle with the leading edge of the peel touching the pizza stone in the location where you want the back side of the pizza to be.

Give it a couple of good forward then back flicks and once the dough touches the pizza stone, you'll be able to slide the pizza peel out from under the dough completely.

I have found that I do a better job of not losing all of my ingredients if I press them down a little bit first and make sure they are well seated and ready for some forward/back movement. That may not be kosher but it's what I still have to do to make it happen. One of these days I'll be a pro but until then, I do what I have to do and so should you.

Using a pizza pan is a viable option for sure.. in fact, I have a whole box of the disposable kind that I purchased when I first started making pizza and they kept me sane when I just couldn't seem to get the pizza peel to work properly.

Your crust won't get quite as crispy that way but it's still crispy, still delicious and it's okay if that's what you need to do to make it happen.

Sometimes if we have a pizza party, I'll give everyone a pan and let them stretch and build their own pizza on that instead of using the pizza peel. It speeds things up and everyone is happy.

Absolutely and I have that planned.. be watching for that very soon! In fact, I'll send out an email to everyone on my newsletter list once that is available. Subscribe here to make sure you get that email as well as receive my new recipes just as soon as they get published.

By: Jeff Phillips
Title: The Best Pizza Dough Recipe
Sourced From: www.smoking-meat.com/best-pizza-dough-recipe
Published Date: 09/30/21

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Cooking Tips

Basehor Bombs

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Basehor Bombs

My twist on this recipe: https://urbancowgirllife.com/texas-twinkies-recipe/Basehor
I like chedder cheese more than creamed cheese, so used that instead. Chilis smoked for 1 hr @225, chilled in cold water and drained. Layered in strips of sliced chedder,diced up brisket mixed with Jack Stacks BBQ sauce. I use thick cut bacon, wrapped 1 slice around stuffed jalapeños and sprinkled with
Cowtown Squel. Smoked @ 225 for 1hr 15 minutes. Sure smells good . . . letting them cool off

By: loco_engr
Title: Basehor Bombs
Sourced From: eggheadforum.com/discussion/1228732/basehor-bombs
Published Date: 09/17/21

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pumpkinata – happy autumn

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swapped in pumpkin ale for water and added some pumpkin pie
spice to a base farinata di ceci, following the initial bake I removed it to a
grid for the addition of goat cheese, fresh rosemary and pineapple head/butter
roasted pumpkin then a final bake.

batter into a screaming hot cast iron pan with a good bit of olive oil, to get a nice fry on the exterior
the ale affected the final texture, guessing it was the sugar, didn't get the usual crispiness but still good
about another 5 minutues to melt things together a bit
topped off with a peanut/date crusted chocolate tart
doing a lot of yard work, fall cleanup, several bonfires lately, really enjoying autumn

pumpkin Sam & some salted peanuts, another great combination. 

By: Zippylip
Title: pumpkinata – happy autumn
Sourced From: eggheadforum.com/discussion/1228773/pumpkinata-happy-autumn
Published Date: 09/26/21

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https://amazinghamburger.com/outdoor-cooking/chicken-vodka-pizza/

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