Call it a Flatbread if you want, but this is really a Pizza. And who doesn’t love pizza?
There’s very little we like more than pizza. In this recipe, it’s called a Flatbread. I am not quite sure why because the dough in this recipe is pizza dough. Pizza dough is a store-bought item for me. Anyone can make it better than I can. And virtually every single pizza place in this country will sell you their dough. And if they won’t, there are piles of it at Trader Joe’s. Our dough came frozen from the Supermarket. It was perfect. It rolled out to make a perfect thin crust. Covered with a thin layer of fig jam, it was then sprinkled abundantly with Gorgonzola, the crumbly Italian Blue Cheese. Gorgonzola packs quite a punch of flavor, a perfect contrast to the sweetness of the fig jam. The figs themselves go on only in the last three minutes of cooking. Add a little more cheese, drizzle the sweet tartness of a thick Balsamic vinegar, add peppery arugula as a finishing touch, and, oh my, is this good!
Our Figs were from California, but they might have come from Pennsylvania.
All hail Fig Season, when these luscious little fruits arrive. In this case, ours were from California. They do grow around here if you take great precautions to overwinter them well. A former work partner of mine, Carl, was a great Fig Fancier. I loved the story of how his family transplanted their Italian grandfather’s Fig Tree from the Bronx to their home on Long Island. Native to Southeast Asia, Ficus Carica is widely grown from Afghanistan to Portugal. And it thrives on sunny slopes in Italy. Carl’s grandfather’s tree was likely a reminder of home, descendent of clippings carefully tucked into suitcases arriving from Italy years before. Even more miraculous was that Carl then moved them to Yardley, Pennsylvania where they continued to thrive.
Some guidance before we get to the recipe.
If you can find fresh Pizza dough at either your local pizza place or if your supermarket sells it raw, you can proceed to the recipe. My option was to use frozen Pizza dough from “House of Pasta”, a company in Westfield, MA. It came in two 1 lb. balls. These were frozen solid. They take at least 6 hours to defrost at room temperature. Far better is to defrost your dough overnight in the fridge. You rub the frozen dough with a little olive oil. Then put it into a glass bowl covered with a damp tea towel. Two hours before you need it, take it out of the fridge and let it stand at room temperature. (FYI, according to its packaging, “House of Pasta” dough can be used to make Italian bread, Zeppole (Italy’s version of a doughnut) and Calzone, the Neopolitan “stuffed” pizza. Talk about versatile!) The second piece of advice is to not fuss about the dough too much, how perfectly rectangular it is or square or whatever shape it ends up being. One advantage to calling this a Flatbread is that no one is going to expect a perfectly formed round pizza! Instead, expect something rustic and free-form. And absolutely fantastic to eat. Here is the recipe. And after it, some other Chewing The Fat favorite Pizzas–some that are even circular!
Fig Gorgonzola and Arugula Flatbread
A great addition to a small cocktail party, a wonderful lunch for two, a starter...you name it.
- 1 pound pizza dough, at room temperature at least 1 hour
- 6 fresh figs
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- Finely ground cornmeal, for dusting
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup fig jam
- 4 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (1 cup) and divided
- 1 cup arugula (1 ounce)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze
- Step 1 Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Place a heavy rimmed baking sheet upside down on the rack, and heat the oven to 450°F. Quarter the figs through the stem and set aside.
- Step 2 Turn over a second rimmed baking sheet and cover it with a sheet of parchment paper. Dust the parchment paper with cornmeal. If the dough is sticky, dust it with a little bit of all-purpose flour. Place the dough on the parchment paper. Use the heel of your hand to press the dough flat. Work from the middle out to shape it into a rectangle with your hands or a rolling pin. The dough will stick to the parchment
- Step 3 if it starts to shrink back, wait a few minutes to let it relax and continue shaping.
- Step 4 Brush the dough with the olive oil, then spread half of the fig jam into a thin layer onto the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the gorgonzola. Carefully remove the preheated baking sheet from the oven and use the parchment paper to slide the flatbread directly onto the back of the baking sheet.
- Step 5 Bake until the edges are golden-brown and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. Scatter the quartered figs on the flatbread during the last 3 minutes of baking.
- Step 6 Remove the flatbread from the oven and top immediately with 1/4 cup of the remaining gorgonzola and the arugula. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze. Cool for 2 minutes, then slice and serve.
- Step 7 Recipe Notes
- Step 8 Storage: This pizza is best eaten fresh, but you can refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.