When you live in Upstate NY you really learn to appreciate the different seasons. Having lived in California until I was 32 years old, I always romanticized fall and winter and thought how great it would be to live somewhere with real seasons. Not that California, doesn't have seasons. It does, Hot and hotter. Then rain and mudslides. But here it is different. If you are hearty enough to make it through the winter you are rewarded with the three other seasons. (Of course, winter is brutal and lasts about six months. But hey, the cold keeps out the riff raff. They all move to Florida)
So, it is now summer. (Fade in Gershwin, "And the livin' is easy....") Needless to say, the way I cook changes tremendously from season to season. Summer is a riot of fresh produce, from raspberries to tomatoes and corn and everything in between. But the thing that changes most in summer is the method by which I cook. I know I am not alone in making grilling my primary way of getting dinner on the table. But steaks, hamburgers, and chicken do get a little monotonous, so I mix it up quite a bit. Grilled flatbread is a particular favorite in our house.
Grilled flatbread can be topped anyway you please, or used as a foil for some great dips. Topped like a pizza, even the kids will love it. Tonight, I plan on sipping some champagne on the deck, listening to the birds, and enjoying this version of grilled flatbread as a first course. Haven't decided what will come after it yet. But rest assured, it will be good.
Grilled Flatbread with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, and Blue Cheese
The secret of this flatbread is to use GOOD blue cheese. Point Reyes Blue or Maytag are my favorites. Just don't use anything labeled "blue cheese crumbles". I am convinced that people who don't like blue cheese have only ever had bad blue cheese or bad blue cheese dressing. Try spending more than .99 a pound on it and you might be surprised by how happy it makes your mouth.
1. Slice an onion. Heat 2 T olive oil in a skillet and add the onions. Cook slowly until the onions begin to caramelize. Season well with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
2. Saute mushrooms a la Julia Child: in other words, use a combination of butter and olive oil, season well, and don't crowd the pan. They will brown nicely if they have enough room. Do two batches if you have to. Read Julia's recipe for sauteed mushroom in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" It will transform your life. If you don't have the book, wait a minute, you don't have the book? Really? Are you worthy enough to read my blog? At least go check it out from the library and give it a once over. Seriously.
3. Preheat your grill to medium. Brush both sides of a flatbread with olive oil.( I buy mine at the public market, but you can find decent ones at the supermarket next to the pita breads. They are called Naan, or Tandoori Naan, or pocketless pitas.) Season with salt and pepper and put on the grill. Grill one side until slightly crisp and slightly browned,a bout 2 minutes. Turn over and top with sliced fresh mozzarella, the mushrooms, onion, and sprinkle liberally with blue cheese.Turn the heat down and close the lid on the grill. heat until the mozzarella melts and is slightly bubbly, about 5 minutes, moving the flatbread to indirect heat if the bottom starts to get too brown.
And don't forget to eat it with a nice Spanish Cava. I prefer Segura Viudas.