Recipes

Meril’s Muffaletta Flatbread

by Emeril Lagasse and Wilfredo Avelar 4:05 PM, September 11, 2017

Aired September 12, 2017

Serves 4 flatbreads, serves 8 to 10 as an appetizer
Ingredients

For the dough:
1 3⁄4 cups warm water (110° to 115°F)
1 (1⁄4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour*, plus more for dusting
1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt

For the tomato sauce:
1 tablespoon thinly sliced garlic
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, passed through a food mill, with their juices
Kosher salt, to taste

All-purpose flour and cornmeal, as needed for working with dough
6 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
6 ounces grated aged provolone cheese
8 ounces mortadella, sliced and then cut crosswise into strips
8 ounces hard salami, such as Genoa, thinly sliced and then quartered
10 ounces Italian olive salad, drained and finely chopped
Toasted sesame seeds, for sprinkling as garnish
Chopped fresh herbs for garnish, such as parsley or basil, optional

*Note: Flour matters! Be sure to use unbleached all-purpose flour for the dough; it has a higher protein content than bleached, which will result in a better crumb for the crust.
 

Preparation

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arge bowl, combine the water, yeast, honey and 2 tablespoons of the oil, and let stand until it begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. (If it doesn’t bubble or foam after 10 minutes, it means the yeast is no longer active and you’ll need to start again with a fresh packet.)

Combine 3 cups of the flour with the salt then add it to the yeast mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it is all incorporated. Continue adding the remaining 1 cup flour, 1⁄4 cup at a time, kneading the dough after each addition until it has all been incorporated. The dough will be slightly sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead several more times, until the dough comes together and is smooth.

Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to a clean large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with the oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set in a warm, draft-free place until the dough nearly doubles in size, about 2 hours.

Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it briefly on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into four pieces, shape each into a ball, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and allow them to rest 15 minutes. (The dough can be made a day ahead. After its first rise, cover and refrigerate it. The next day, take it out of the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, then shape and use as desired. You can also freeze it. After the first rise, portion it into 4 balls, then wrap them individually and freeze; they will keep for up to one month.)

Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and line with bricks, pizza tiles, or a baking stone. Preheat the oven to 500°F for at least 1 hour before baking the flatbreads.

For the sauce, heat a saucepan over medium heat and sauté the garlic in the olive oil until lightly golden, adding the crushed red pepper midway through the process.

Add the oregano and tomatoes, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Season with a couple pinches of salt, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce has achieved a nice consistency and flavors have come together.

Lightly flour a work surface and stretch each round of dough out as thinly as possible, pressing, pulling, and stretching it as needed, and leaving a slightly thicker lip around all sides. (At Meril, the flatbreads are pulled and shaped into long rectangular shapes since they are served on rectangular wooden boards. Feel free to shape the dough as desired based on your serving preferences.)

Lightly sprinkle a pizza paddle or rimless cookie sheet with cornmeal and transfer one of the dough portions to the paddle.

Spread a thin layer of Meril’s Tomato Sauce over the dough, leaving the edge uncovered. Top with one-quarter of the mozzarella, provolone, mortadella and salami. Top with one-quarter of the olive salad.

Working quickly, slide the topped dough onto the hot bricks, tiles or stone, and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly, 8-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Cut the flatbread into pieces and garnish with a light sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and with fresh herbs, if desired. Serve hot. Repeat with the remaining dough portions and toppings.

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