Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jacques Pepin's Flatbread

Jacques Pepin is certainly no stranger to the culinary community. Through cookbooks and TV series, he continues to churn out highly useful information and innovative ways of cooking in the kitchen. The recipe below is from his most recent TV series, More Fast Food My Way. The recipe was developed after Pepin visited a Tibetan restaurant and wanted to re-create a pan-cooked flatbread. The advantage of this bread is that it cooks up FAST. Start to finish you're looking at no more than 20 minutes so it's a great weeknight meal addition. Of course, we're not talking about the depth of flavor associated with something like sourdough, but the bread takes to flavor additions like herbs or mushrooms, as I have added in mine.

Jacques' Flatbread

1 1/2 cups of AP flour
1 cup of water
salt to taste
1 teaspoon of baking powder

Dump everything into bowl and "stir it into a gooey stuff" as Jacques says. The dough will indeed be very wet, gooey, sticky... whatever you want to call it! Heat up a pan that has non-stick properties* over medium to medium-high heat. Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and then pour in your dough. Spread it into one flat layer in the pan with a spoon or spatula. A little oil on the spoon or spatula helps keep the dough from sticking to it. Add a tablespoon or two of water around the outside of the dough where it meets the pan; the object is to create steam to help cook the bread. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 8-10 minutes. After 8-10 minutes have passed, flip the bread and re-cover the pan so that it cooks from the other side. Think of this as a big savory pancake. Cook for another 5 minutes and you're done!

I suggest peeking at the bottom of the bread about half way through the first 8-10 minutes just to make sure the bottom isn't burning. You want good color, but you don't want charcoal! Adjust your stove top temperature accordingly.

Feel free to add your own touches. I have added dried thyme, black pepper, and sauteed mushrooms to this bread just to change things up a bit.

*I use the term "non-stick properties" because while a non-stick pan is perfectly acceptable to use in this recipe, I prefer to use cast iron or carbon steel whenever it is available.