Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Caprese Flatbread

Helen K. suggested our next Secret Ingredient and because she did, Helen has won a $25 gift of chocolate from Fannie May Chocolates (mmm... my favorite!).

But... we here at Mystery Lovers Kitchen were so excited about *another* ingredient, submitted by our good friend and grill-guy, Dave, that we've been inspired to try something new. Stay tuned and we may have some surprises in store in the coming months. Thanks, Dave!

Helen - feel free to contact me at JulieHyzy(at)gmail(dot)com. Otherwise, I'll be in touch soon.

The fun part of this is that Helen suggested so many ingredients that I'm sure she doesn't even know which one it is! We'll reveal our Secret Ingredient during our next Iron Chef week. (Hint - late February.)

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog...

For my birthday a couple of months back, my family and I went out to one of our favorite local restaurants, Cooper's Hawk, which is also a wonderful winery. I love the place - good energy, fabulous service, consistently great food.

They had recently added some new flatbreads to the appetizer menu and we opted to try the Caprese version. Heck, we all love Caprese salads, so why not?

Was it fabulous? Oh, yes. My vegetarian daughter loved it most of all, and we've ordered it again and again...

But what to do between visits? I decided to try to make a Caprese Flatbread at home.

First of all, remember that you can change/adjust/eliminate/add any ingredients to suit your tastes. Feel free to build on this basic recipe. It's fun.


1 pkg frozen bread dough. (These usually come in packs of three. I defrost
one at a time, and then cut the loaf in thirds. One-third of a loaf makes a good-sized flatbread)

Fresh tomatoes, sliced

Fresh Mozzarella, sliced

Fresh basil leaves, chopped

Fresh garlic cloves, crushed and minced

Purple onion, sliced in to super-slim half-rounds

Olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Italian salad dressing

Balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Knead, then roll out the 1/3 chunk of defrosted frozen bread dough. The last photo is of two 1/3 chunks, rolled out. The rolling can get a little bit frustrating because the dough really, really wants to stay in chunk form. But it eventually behaves. I intended to make nice, straight rectangles -- I wanted them to look just like the ones at Coopers Hawk -- as you can see, the shapes turned out more like paramecium =) I could have cut off the edges, but why? This was for my family and the more flatbread, the better.

Spray a cookie sheet/jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray and transfer the rolled-out dough onto the sheet. Combine olive oil (about 2 - 3 TBSP) with minced garlic. Brush the dough with it. Bake until the flattened bread begins to brown. Bubbles may form during baking, and you can just pop them with the sharp end of a knife or a fork. My bread took about 20 minutes to brown, but I would suggest you leave it in just a little bit longer.

Once it's nicely browned, bring it topside on your stove, and decide if you think it needs more olive oil/garlic. We love garlic, so we usually add a bit more. Add sliced mozzarella, tomatoes, onions and top with chopped basil leaves. Once it's all arranged and looks pretty, drizzle a little Italian salad dressing and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Return the flatbread to the oven and bake until edges start to crisp. In these photos, I didn't leave them in quite long enough and the edges are still a little
soft. They tasted great, but we discovered that we prefer them just a little bit more crispy.

As I mentioned, you can add any ingredients you prefer. Other cheeses, other herbs. I bet this would be fabulous with roasted peppers. Hope you have fun eggsperimenting!

(Sorry, couldn't resist throwing in a plug for Eggsecutive Orders! LOL)




  1. We love garlic, too! I'm sure that would be a big component when we make this...and it looks delish! Putting it on my TBC (to be cooked) list. :)

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. who doesn't love garlic... this is a great place to use Garlic infused oil.

    And what a fancy name for a pizza!

    And these cook great on a grill.

    and congratulations to Helen... I wish you had picked my choice, but honestly, my ever growing ass is probably better off with Helen as the winner...

    Can't wait for the announcement on what you have planned!

  3. Elizabeth - I hope you have fun with it.

    Dave - LOL you're right - this is very pizza like! When we had it at the restaurant -- so nice and rectangular and with a very even crust -- it didn't resemble pizza at all. But mine sure does! Good point!


  4. So funny. Just a few days ago I made pasta with extra garlic, because we're big on garlic, too. There seems to be a trend here!

    Julie, these sound delicious. I'm definitely going to try them.

    ~ Krista

  5. Congratulations to Helen! Iron Chef weeks are so fun and I can't wait to see what else you have up your sleeves.

    I love flatbreads and the Caprese topping sounds so fresh and light. It might just feel like I'm eating a little touch of Spring as I'm sitting here watching it snow :)

  6. Chiming in to join Janel in congratulating Helen, too! As an official mystery cook, I already know what her secret ingredient is, but you all will find out soon enough in February when we hold a new Iron Chef week, so stay tuned! LOL!

    Julie - Your flatbread idea is just great. I love all the fresh ingredients that you used. I have a friend who buys pizza dough from a local pizza place. He just walks in and buys the dough raw, takes it home, rolls it, and dresses it up as you have. That's a great way to do a quick and easy crust, too! But I think your idea of using frozen bread dough makes loads of sense for so many of us who have no time to make a yeast dough. A great time saver and an economical and healthy meal or snack, too, because you can use all those fresh ingredients.

    Have a great day!
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  7. Flatbread, so easy, so elegant. What a great recipe. And frozen bread dough...perfect. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Krista - absolutely! Bring on the garlic. I just added a little extra to my recipe for next week's blog.

    Janel - you're right about the springiness of it all. I love fresh ingredients. I just feel so much healthier enjoying it.

    Cleo - I never thought to buy dough from a pizza place, but the frozen dough is handy because it takes almost no time to thaw. We can make our flatbreads (or pizzas) on very little notice in this house. And that's a good thing.

    Avery - Next time I try this I hope to up the elegance factor by shaping the flats better. They taste great though ... no matter what.

  9. Julie, that looks fantastic. I'm a thin crust
    pizza gal, so this is right up my alley. And
    your paramecium are cute! LOL!

  10. Thanks, Jenn. My paramecium were gobbled up pretty quickly. This family doesn't ever have a problem with weird-looking food ;-)

  11. Yippee! I am very excited to be the winner of this month's Secret Ingredient contest. It was fun each day to make a choice of which ingredient to submit. I kept looking at my Fannie May catalog trying to decide which one to choose if I won - I love their candy & would highly recommend it.

    Waiting until late February will be the hard part.

    Thanks for the contests.

    Helen K.

  12. Congrats, Helen! Fannie May is about the best chocolate I've ever had and the kind you picked is one of my all-time favorites. Just ordered it and it should ship tomorrow!

    Thanks for participating in our contest!

  13. Yummmmm!! I love garlic, too. Julie, I bet this would work with the pizza dough that comes in cans, too, instead of frozen bread dough.

  14. Good idea about the frozen bread. I get so caught up in thinking that I need to make everything by hand that I neglect to remember that there are some mighty fine products like this. Well done!

  15. Shel - I didn't know that dough was available in cans! Learn something new every day!

    Katy - I found out about frozen bread dough when I used to make shaped loaves with Pampered Chef bread tins. I haven't made the shapes in a while, but the bread dough was a real find!