Parma ham, walnut, fig & Gorgonzola lahmacun
I wasn’t even planning on making a postable recipe tonight. I’d bought some delicious aged Parma ham to go with the ingredients leftover from the other day’s walnut, pecan & Gorgonzola tortellini with rosemary & figs, which I’d thought to turn into a simple salad. I even got so far as toasting up some stale bread with rosemary and walnuts to make a breadcrumb topping for this salad before realising that there really wouldn’t be enough food here to feed two! Oops.
What could I bulk this up with without going to the shop? We had only the stale bread I was midway through breadcrumbing, so I rummaged the cupboard. Orzo pasta? No, too bitty. Couscous? Not suitable. Lasagna!? Figs in lasagna, don’t be silly! Hmmm. All of a sudden I was hit by inspiration in the form of a flatbread. A Turkish flatbread, called lahmacun, a recipe I’d mentally bookmarked for another day from Rebecca Seal’s Istanbul. I would transform this Italian style salad into a Turkish flatbread! Would it work? Well. It sounds kind of like an Middle Eastern pizza I suppose, especially with the fruit and honey. So I decided to give it a go.
I had a few hours to kill before my boyfriend returned home so had all the time in the world to get kneading and resting the dough. The ingredient list was great in that I had everything in my cupboard. That almost never happens! Bread flour, dried yeast, olive oil. (Well I didn’t have semolina, but the recipe explained that this was just to dust so I just left it out).
And the taste?
The flatbread was just what you’d hope for in a flatbread – crispy yet doughy, with a definite homemade bready, yeasty pure taste, a sturdy vehicle for the tangy, salty and sweet topping. Surprisingly, and to my delight, the Parma ham was the taste that shone, it’s mature depth of flavour even surpassing the kick of the Gorgonzola. But, because the toppings are scattered over as opposed to piled on top of the bread, you get to taste different flavour combinations in very bite.
You will need:
For the flatbread:
1/2 tbspn dried active yeast
250g strong white bread flour
175ml lukewarm water
1 tbspn olive oil
1/2 tbspn sugar
1 Tspn salt
For the topping:
6 slices premium Parma ham, torn
75g Gorgonzola, ripped into small pieces
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves only
Honey, to drizzle
A handful of walnuts
2 ripe figs, sliced
Olive oil, to drizzle
1 – Preheat your oven to as high as it will go and pop a couple of baking trays or pizza stones inside
2 – Mix the yeast, sugar and oil with the lukewarm water and set aside for ten minutes or so until a frothy surface has formed
3 – Tip the yeasty water into a large bowl with the flour and salt; mix together and then knead the dough for ten minutes on a floured surface, until elastic and smooth, adding extra flour if its too sticky
4 – Pop the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film; leave in a warm place for an hour or so until its double in size
5 – Punch down the dough, roll in out over a floured surface into two rough oval shapes and transfer these onto the preheated stones/trays; scatter over all of the toppings except the honey, dividing equally between the two breads, and drizzle with oil
6 – Cook the flatbreads on the top shelf of your oven for 10 minutes until golden brown and crisp; serve drizzled with extra oil and honey