It's been a while since I last wrote, but good things have been in the works in my kitchen. One notable night featured a surprise visit from a couple old friends, a bottle of wine, and a survey of the ingredients available in my refrigerator. Juggling a granny smith apple, a bag of arugula, a handle of vodka--yes, a handle of vodka--and my wine glass, I served up a flatbread that was crunchy, creamy, warm, sweet and tart all at once. Thanks to this great flatbread recipe from The Meaning of Pie and a bit of creativity, dinner was served.
GRUYERE, GRANNY SMITH APPLE, AND ARUGULA FLATBREAD WITH BALSAMIC GLAZE
For the crust:
2 teaspoons vodka ($2.99)
Half an egg (scramble it and eye-ball it) ($0.12)
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour, sifted ($2.99)
1/8 teaspoon baking powder ($1.39)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, softened ($1)
2 Tablespoons olive oil (for batter)
2 Tablespoons olive oil (for the skillet)
½ cup water
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the topping:
About 1-2 cups of gruyere cheese ($2.49)
1 granny smith apple ($0.49)
A couple handfuls of arugula ($1.99)
Balsamic vinegar ($1.99)
Optional: shaved parmesan or asiago cheese
The Grand Total: $15.45
Grate the cheese and slice the apple. Grab a baking pan or a cast iron skillet that is about 12 inches in diameter. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees with the pan inside.
Meanwhile, combine the water, vodka, olive oil, and half an egg. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk them together.
Carefully remove the HOT pan from the oven. Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet and spread it around with a paper towel or a spatula. Immediately pour in the batter and spread it to the edges of the pan to the extent possible using a wooden or rubber spatula. It will be cooking as you spread so just do the best you can and then let it be. Dot the batter with butter…and by that I mean put 8 or 10 little spots of butter around the pan.
Carefully return the pan to the oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Check it at 15 minutes to make sure it isn’t getting too browned and sprinkle the cheese on top. Assemble the granny smith apple slices on top of the cheese.
While you're waiting for the flatbread to cook, pour about 3 cups of balsamic into another sautee pan, and cook it over medium heat until it condenses to the consistency of a glaze -- about 5-10 minutes. Grate the cheese and slice the apples.
Carefully remove the pan back to the stove-top (just because it is the most heat-safe spot). With a large spatula, remove the bread to a cutting board. Place the arugula on top and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Cut into pieces and serve.