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Flatbreads have a long and tasty history

Italian focaccia flat cake with tomatoes and arugula

Well time “Marches” on and after last week I think we’re all ready for spring to arrive. With that, however, comes the panic feeling that we’re going to have to appear in a bathing suit in public soon!

Rest assured this Veggie Focaccia recipe is actually much lower in fat and carbs than your average pizza and also has a few health benefits as well.

Flatbreads are referenced in the Bible but even go back to the very beginning of cooking as one could grind up roots or grains, mix them with water and literally cook them directly on stones around an open fire making them slightly more palatable.

This eventually evolved into something beyond survival and into something quite tasty.

Italian villagers would gather in the centre of town with their bread dough to bake in a communal stone oven. When there would be scraps or end pieces of dough leftover they would put them together, roll out flat, brush with olive oil and then possibly top with whatever was lying around – sliced  garlic, olives, chopped herbs etc. They would then cook this “alla foca” (on the hearth) and not only was the “focaccia” born, but the modern day pizza soon followed.

This crust is extra crispy by the addition of cornmeal and can be rolled nice and thin. It also has a good bit of fibre which helps with blood sugar regulation.

The array of veggies are not only colourful but add textural contrast and are delicious.

This and other recipes will be demonstrated on March 25 at Chef Duff at RiverSong.

Veggie Focaccia

  • 1.5 cups bread flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 pkt. instant yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1.5 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 lb Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 lb low-fat feta
  • 1 bunch fresh basil

Combine flours, oil, salt, sugar, yeast, water and form into dough.

Knead for 5-10 minutes until it feels strong.

Rest for at least 20 minutes.

Prepare and slice toppings into bite-size pieces.

Toast corn lightly in frying pan with a splash of oil.

Roll out dough into long oval shape and prick with a fork. Brush lightly with olive oil and dress with toppings arranged in an attractive manner.

Sprinkle with feta.

Bake in a 450 F oven for about 10 minutes.

Cut into pieces and sprinkle with fresh shredded basil.

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