Roasted sweet pearl onions with balsamic, olive oil, and fresh basil leaves have found their perfect home with zucchini on top of homemade flatbread. Spread with goat cheese for a light lunch or delicious snack.
By Pallavi Gupta
When I was young, my mom would make these flatbreads that were made out gram flour and had….for the lack of a better description a pinch like pattern on it. They were relatively very small and thicker than the regular chapatis and she would dunk it into a bowl of ghee (clarified butter) as soon as she removed them from the flame. She made the pattern with the tongs that she used to flip the bread on the flame – it was to make the ghee stick onto the bread. I liked eating those breads as is…without any toppings, without any curries.These flabreads originate from Rajasthani cuisine but I am not sure of what exactly are they called.
I used the flatbread sans ghee to create today’s recipe. The bread is stiff and holds its shape really well and this recipe is somewhat a hybrid between a tart and a flatbread. The good thing about this recipe is that it has less than half the fat of a regular tart and it also takes half the time to cook. All you guys who are used rolling out your own flatbreads – chapati, tortillas, naan etc will find the whole process to be pretty easy. The dough otherwise is pretty forgiving too – its not sticky or tacky..the gram flour absorbs a lot of water and the dough it a dry stiff dough. It doesn’t crumble and holds the shape quiet well. I switched between a rolling pin and my hands while rolling the bread. Keep the disks towards the thicker side so that its sturdy enough to hold the toppings. I used some semolina in the dough to give it some texture – if you don’t have it then you can skip it…..no need to go to the store specially to buy a whole bag and use a tablespoon out of it.
The topping are really simple and need really less work. I roasted some sweet pearl onions with balsamic, olive oil, salt, little sugar and fresh basil leaves. The onions turned a delicious combination of sweet and sour with a hint of basil. The onions got sweet from their natural sugar + a little added sugar. Zucchini – I didn’t even cook. I cut them into thin rounds and just marinated them with some salt, pepper and olive oil for about 15 minutes. The salt turned them soft but not too mushy. The mild flavor of the zucchini went very well with the flavors of onions. I smeared some goat cheese on the bread before adding the toppings. The tang from the cheese brought all the flavors together.
I like this recipe because its easy and quick to put together. You can play around with the toppings and come up with your own combination. The recipe can be made vegan by using vegan cheese or by skipping it all together.
- 1 cup gram flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp semolina
- 1 tbsp olive oil + a few tbsp more
- 1 tsp italian seasoning
- water to knead the dough
- 1 cup pearl onions or shallots
- about 1 large zucchini cut into thin circle
- a good glug of balsamic vinegar
- black pepper
- few cloves of garlic
- goat cheese
- few sprigs of fresh basil leaves
- some pine nuts to sprinkle (optional)
- In a big bowl add both flours & semolina, italian seasoning, salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Mix roughly using your fingers. Slowly add little water and start kneading. Knead till it comes together as a dough. Cover and let it rest for about 10 to 15 min.
- In the meantime, preheat the over to 375 F. In an ovenproof dish add onions, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, sugar, garlic and basil. Give it a rough mix and pop it in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or till the onions turn soft and caramelize.
- In a separate bowl add zucchini and season it with salt and pepper. Drizzle some olive oil and mix it to coat the zucchini evenly. Leave the zucchini to marinade for as long as the onions cook.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and roll out disks of about ¼ inch thickness.
- Cook the disks partially on a non stick pan on medium low heat.
- If you have a stove-top with a burner then cook the flatbread on the flame for about 30 seconds each side till you get some nice charred marks on it. Otherwise continue to cook on the pan till the flatbread is cooked through. You can even cook it on the BBQ grill.
- Let the flatbread cool almost completely before assembling the whole thing.
- Smear a generous amount of goat cheese on the flatbread.
- Place the marinated zucchini on the bread and spoon the onions onto the bread.
- Drizzle some liquid that you might have in the bowl in which your roasted the onions. Sprinkle some pine nuts and serve right away.
Pallavi is a vegetarian globetrotter, who currently lives in the southern part of India. Past ten years of her life includes living in six cities in three different countries. It has added to her vast exposure of cuisines from different parts of the world which is now reflected in her cooking. She shares her knowledge of vegetarian and vegan recipe from around the world via her blog Veggie Zest. When not cooking or photographing, she does graphic design.