Grilled Flatbread with Figs, Goat Cheese, Prosciutto and Arugula
August 22, 2011
There is a saying, “Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.”
We had plans for this weekend, oh yes. Big ones which involved flying to another city, a nice hotel room and dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant with friends. We’d been planning it for months. Those four days were going to be the only getaway my husband David and I would have together this summer and we were both looking forward to it.
Then fate intervened.
A few weeks ago we noticed that one of our two cats, our boy named Basil, had a problem with his left eye. Over the next few weeks, David took Basil to see three different vets for tests to only figure out what it was not (an infection, a fungus, a virus, cancer spread to other organs). There was no real diagnosis, only that he had a mass growing behind his left eye, but not what caused it. In the meantime, he got sicker and sicker and our departure date grew closer.
It was an emotionally exhausting three weeks and in the end, after many consultations with the veterinary opthamologist, and many anguished “what should we do?” conversations between the two of us and with friends and family, we decided the best course of action was for Basil to have the eye removed. The surgery was scheduled for the day before our trip and we canceled our plans.
I took the vacation days anyway and we hunkered down in the house after bringing Basil home. The first day of my vacation was spent on the couch with Basil in my lap watching TV and sleeping, something I haven’t done for ages; I didn’t realize how exhausted I was too. David took the night shift, spending every night on the couch to make sure Basil didn’t remove the “cone of shame” he had to wear and accidentally scratch out his sutures.
Because we didn’t want to leave the house I also spent a lot of time cooking. We’re lucky to have a neighbor with a prolific fig tree who is willing to share so I’ve been doing some experimenting with the abundance of ripe figs she’s been giving me. This grilled flat bread was born out of a desire to use the figs in a different way (stay tuned for more fig recipes).
The dough is a basic pizza dough, rolled thin and shaped any way you want (yes, you could just as easily call this “grilled pizza” but the toppings suggest calling it something else to me). It’s a fantastic combination of flavors; sweet figs, salty prosciutto, tangy goat cheese and peppery arugula. Add to that the slight char the dough gets from the grill and it’s a winner. David said, “Just when I thought you couldn’t make anything better, you do. I could eat this every day and not get tired of it.”
In the end, we really had no regrets about missing our vacation. Life is all about priorities, right? We stayed home and took care of our boy, who is already on the mend and has earned two new nicknames, Basil One Eye, the Pirate Cat and Frankenkitty.
We ate very well, and even had friends and family over for dinner. We rested and spent time with the ones we love. What more could I want out of a vacation?
Grilled Flatbread with Figs, Goat Cheese, Prosciutto and Arugula Recipe 6-7 oz of pizza dough (a ball of dough about the size of an orange)
2 ripe figs, sliced 1/4″ thick, skin on
1 oz goat cheese, crumbled
3/4 oz prosciutto (2 slices)
1 oz arugula
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil plus more for the grill
The recipe below yields one personal-sized flatbread, perfect for a light meal for one or a nice appetizer for two.
When the dough is ready, start the grill and get it very hot. If your grill has a temperature gauge, let it get to about 400 degrees.
Prep all the toppings and put them on a plate or tray you can take out to the grill. Slice the figs into 1/4 inch thick slices. Crumble the goat cheese. Pull the prosciutto apart into bite sized pieces. Set aside the arugula.
Spread or roll the dough very thin, but even. Try not to get areas that are too thin because these will form holes and burn easily. If you have a pizza peel, use this to help slide the dough easily onto the grill.
Spray or brush the surface of the dough with some of the olive oil and place that side down on the grill. Cook until the dough begins to firm up on the bottom and gets a nice brown color. Brush the uncooked side of the dough with olive oil and flip over.
Add the figs, goat cheese, and prosciutto to the top of the grilled flatbread and shut the lid of the grill for about two minutes so the toppings can get warm and the bottom of the bread can finish cooking.
When the bottom is well toasted, remove the flatbread to a platter or cutting board and top with the arugula and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Tip: Rub the surface of the grill with a rolled kitchen towel (use an old one you can throw away), lightly dipped in oil (be careful, use tongs to do this). This will help keep the dough from sticking.