Why It's Time to Stop Making Pizzas at Home and Start Making Flatbreads
Pizzas have always been and will continue to be an almost perfect food, and I love to make homemade pizzas. But these days, with the proliferation of so much great pizza dough to be easily sourced at your local grocers, it is time to discuss flatbreads and why they deserve an equal seat at your weeknight dinner table.
The difference between flatbreads and pizza
Flatbreads differ from pizzas in one major way. While flatbreads use pizza dough as their base, they do not rely on cheese as a primary topping. In fact, many of them have no cheese at all. Some have the flavors as toppings, while some have ingredients incorporated into the dough itself or stuffed in the middle.
Flatbreads are incredibly versatile: You can create one simply by dressing it with flavored oil or some herbs, or with a combination of fantastic ingredients as complex as any Michelin-starred dish. Some are traditional, like the famous pissaladière of Southern France or the lamb-stuffed keema naan of India. Some are new and unique, and as varied as any inspiration you might have to create your own versions.
The best ways to serve flatbreads
Flatbreads are a fun appetizer or cocktail nibble, and many of them can be eaten at room temperature, so they can be made a little ahead, unlike pizzas. They can also be hearty enough to serve as a main course, served with just a salad. Or they can be a substitute for bread to accompany a meal.
Try this version when you've got a group around your table: Roll your dough out into a long oblong, brush with a generous amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown, and when it comes out of the oven, give it one more brush of the oil, a sprinkling of either herbes de Provence or Italian Herb Blend, and if you like, some grated Parmesan. Serve in the center of the table for everyone to rip off hunks as you enjoy your meal.
My favorite flatbread to make
One of my favorite flatbreads is a simple one inspired by a dish I had in Italy. The flattened dough is topped with thin slices of peeled eggplant, and then everything is brushed generously with garlic-infused olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt flakes and freshly ground pepper. When the dough is cooked and the eggplant browned, top it with a scattering of fresh parsley leaves. Super simple, and the perfect appetizer flatbread for company, or a light lunch for one.
Tips for cooking flatbreads
Flatbreads are best cooked at high heat for a short time, so if you are experimenting with creating your own versions, plan on having your oven as hot as it will go, and baking them for between 7-15 minutes, depending on how thick you rolled or patted your dough out, and how many toppings are on them.
My favorite flatbread recipes
Here are some flatbread recipes to get you started!
- Lemon-Ricotta Herbed Flatbread
- Fig Jam and Goat Cheese Flatbread
- Two-Potato Flatbread with Olives and Feta
- Roasted Fennel-and-Prosciutto Flatbread
- Flatbread with Pancetta and Asparagus
- Caramelized Onion Flatbread
- Pea Pesto Flatbread
- Lamb Flatbread Pizza with Feta and Mint Salad
- Nutty Carrot Flatbread
- Lemon Flatbread
- Apple Flatbread