Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Piadini with Cherry Tomatoes and 'Smoked Mozzarella'

Vegans are in luck for 'smoked mozzarella' - a version is available from the U.K. company, Sheese. As far as the dough for the piadini, you can buy premade flatbreads at the store, but I always find baking bread at home to be enjoyable.

If you do decide to make the piadini (an Italian flatbread from the Romagna region), dissolve 1 packet yeast (about 2 and 1/4 teaspoons) in 1/2 cup warm water (check with a thermometer to make sure the temperature is between 100 and 110 degrees). Stir in 1/2 cup bread flour, then let stand for 30 minutes. This process creates a "sponge," which results in a nice, airy bread dough - if you've never watched yeast in action, take a peak at the sponge towards the end of the 30 minutes and watch the bubbles!

Stir in an additional 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water, an additional 1 and 1/2 cups bread flour, and 1/2 tsp. salt, stirring until a dough forms.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, adding up to 1/4 cup more bread flour as needed so the dough doesn't stick to your hands. For some reason, I had a remarkably sticky dough tonight, so not only did I add that extra 1/4 cup of flour right off the bat, I also used a well-floured surface and only kneaded lightly for a couple of minutes.

Transfer the dough to a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning so the top of the dough is coated as well. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes, ideally some place about 85 degrees and free from drafts (an unheated, closed oven works perfectly).

While the dough rises, make the filling: combine 1 and 1/2 cups halved yellow cherry tomatoes, 1 and 1/2 cups halved red cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and 1 minced garlic clove; toss to combine, then set aside.

Note: you could use all grape tomatoes here instead of cherry tomatoes, or a mixture of the two; the key is simply to make sure you have both yellow and red tomatoes for a nice color combination!

Once risen, punch the dough down, and let it rest for 5 minutes. Divide into 4 equal portions.

Working with one portion at a time, roll the dough into a 7-inch circle on a floured surface. Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat, then add 1 circle of dough; sprinkle with 3 tablespoons shredded vegan smoked mozzarella and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the pan, and repeat with the remaining 3 circles of dough, sprinkling each with 3 tablespoons of the 'cheese'.

Spoon about 3/4 cup of the tomato mixture onto each piece of bread; fold in half and serve. 1 piadini is 360 calories.

Cost:
yellow grape tomatoes $4.50
red grape tomatoes $2.49
basil $2.99

The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy http://www.wholesoyco.com/
  • Vegan milk - Silk http://www.silksoymilk.com/
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia http://www.sunergiasoyfoods.com/
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods http://www.galaxyfoods.com/
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G http://www.ener-g.com/
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html