Simplicity is key when one is pressed for time. As much as I enjoy an occasional fancy coursed out meal, it’s about hearty flavors and simple preparation that steals the show on a daily basis. Besides, most of us are beyond busy and weekday cooking is all about getting dinner on the table, right? I’m a fan of recipes that can be made in advance and it’s even better if I can use up ingredients that have been hanging around in the fridge. Around here, we call it “cleaning out the fridge” cooking and let me tell you, it sure does keep meals interesting around here.
If you’re planning in advance, make the pizza dough the night before and pull it out an hour before you begin prepping dinner. That way, the dough can come to room temperature and rise again. The mushroom mixture can also be made the night before leaving the bulk of your time investment the following day in waiting for the oven and pizza stone to heat up. After that, it’s going to be a snap. Now, that’s a dinner I can get excited about. Serve this savory flatbread with a simple salad on the side dressed with a sherry vinaigrette and it’s a win-win.
Mushroom and Blue Cheese Flatbread
1 recipe pizza dough (or premade dough is fine)
6 oz cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot. sliced thin
1 tablespoon Madeira wine
1 tablespoon Marsala wine
2 oz blue cheese, crumbled
Leaves from 10 sprigs parsley (coarsely chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
2 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
Slice mushrooms thin. In a skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and saute mushrooms until they soften and shrink, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and shallots and reduce heat to medium, stirring to prevent the garlic from burning. Add a couple pinches of salt (to taste) and pepper. Cook until the shallots are wilted and the mixture becomes fragrant. Turn the heat up to medium high and add the Madeira and Marsala and let the liquid evaporate while stirring. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until the mixture is almost dry. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
recipe adapted from The River Cottage Bread Handbook
1 cup white bread flour
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup warm water, more if necessary
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons coarse flour or semolina (for sprinkling)
Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees. Once oven comes to temperature, let heat for 1 hour to warm the stone.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours (except coarse or semolina flour), yeast. salt and water together to form a sticky dough. Add the oil, mix and turn the dough onto a clean work surface. Knead until smooth and silky.
Form dough into a ball and place back into the mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until it rises almost double its size, approximately 1 hour.
Once dough has doubled in size, roll out into a long, thin oval shape, approximately 1/8″ in thickness.
Transfer dough onto an inverted baking sheet that is dusted with semolina or coarse flour. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese sparely over the surface of the dough. Layer on the mushroom mixture and top with blue cheese.
Bake for 7-8 minutes or until edges are golden. Remove from oven and let rest on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley, slice and serve. Bon appetit!