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Flatbread with mesclun greens

(Wiqan Ang for The Boston Globe)
September 23, 2009

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Serves 6

These crisp oblong flatbreads have three parts: a thin yeast-bread base, homemade arugula pesto, cheese (ricotta salata, feta, or goat), and a mesclun salad. Chef Rich Garcia of Tastings Wine Bar and Bistro at Patriot Place in Foxborough offers them on his menu. To make them at home, prepare the components in stages. The breads can be made, baked, and refrigerated for several days or frozen for a month. Pesto will also keep for a week in an airtight container. The Tastings version of the dish is made with a Moroccan nut oil called argan; walnut oil is a good substitute. Serve the dish as a light supper for an informal dinner. Ask your guests to help roll the dough.

FLATBREAD

1 package ( 1/4 ounce) active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
1. In a bowl combine the yeast, 1/4 cup of the water, and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Stir well; set aside for 10 minutes. Add the remaining 3/4 cup water.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Pour the yeast mixture into the center of the flour; mix well until the dough comes together.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 6 minutes or until the dough is smooth. If it’s too sticky, add more flour. Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon oil into a clean bowl. Add the dough and turn well. Cover with a clean cloth. Leave to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in size.

4. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each into a log about 6 to 8 inches long. On a lightly floured counter, roll the logs into very thin oblongs, about 10 inches long by 3 to 4 inches wide. Place flatbreads on baking sheets (bake them in batches). With a fork, pierce the entire surface many times to prevent dough from bubbling. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until pale golden around the edges. Bake remaining flatbreads in the same way.

PESTO

4 cups packed arugula leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 cloves garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1. In a food processor, combine arugula, pine nuts, garlic, lemon, salt, and pepper.

2. With the machine running, slowly add the oil. Scrape down the sides. Pulse for 2 minutes or until very smooth.

3. Transfer the pesto to a bowl. Stir in the cheese.

TOPPING

2 cups crumbled ricotta salata, feta, or goat cheese
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons walnut oil or olive oil
6 cups mesclun greens
1/2 red onion, halved and thinly sliced

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Spread 1 generous tablespoon pesto on each flatbread. Sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the edges are brown and crisp (bake flatbreads in batches).

3. In a bowl, whisk the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the walnut or olive oil.

4. In a large bowl, toss the mesclun, onion, and enough of the dressing to moisten the greens. Add salad to each flatbread and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cut each flatbread into quarters. Lise Stern