I’m glad to have friends who like to cook. More than that, I’m glad to have friends who can actually cook quite well. There are some who have an undeniable sweet tooth; others who are their best when cooking savoury dishes; some others who are experts on the art of ultimate clean-up-the-fridge meals; those who don’t actually cook at all, and even those rare species who don’t actually cook at all but always value a great, high-quality meal.
Having said this, I’m not quite sure if Luísa matches any of these patterns. I’d rather say she just enjoys cooking, and specially fascinates (as I do) with the social phenomenons which revolve around the act of preparing and eating food such as, for instance: people cooking together, exchanging ideas, methods and recipes; sitting at the table and sharing a good, homemade meal, with closest friends and family. We’ve been talking lately about making a sort of cooking meeting, where we (amongst other people) would cook and share our specialities and enjoy a great meal together in the end – I’m so looking forward to that to happen.
We didn’t know we had common visions towards food until a few months ago, when we got to know each other better at that barbecue party thrown in order to celebrate the end of the semester. She was preparing flatbreads and, as a bread lover you already know I am, that immediately caught my attention. Her method (I won’t call it a recipe, as she was actually following her intuition in order to achieve the desired results) couldn’t be easier: flour, salt, olive oil and water, all mixed together in order to produce a lovely soft dough which is afterwards rolled out and cooked in the oven until crisp. Since then, I’ve used her “method” a lot of times always with successful and delicious outcomes, so today I thought writing down a proper recipe for you. This time around, I have made the flatbreads in the grilling pan and actually enjoyed them more that way (by grilling them, you can control the cooking time more easily, avoiding over-cooking). Luísa had, in her version, only used regular flour ,so I thought combining it with spelt flour for a dough with a more distinct flavour – if you don’t have it at hand, regular (preferably high grade) flour will do it. You can certainly play a lot with this recipe too: adding spices, fresh or dried herbs to the dough is always a good idea. So far, I’ve tried a batch with dried thyme and oregano and another one with crushed cumin seeds – both were that good. Thank you Luísa! ; )
(makes 5 to 6 portions)
108 grams (3/4 cups) high grade flour
65 grams (1/2 cup) spelt flour
½ teaspoon fleur de sel
¼ cup olive oil, plus extra, for drizzling
1/3 cup (80 ml) warm water
1. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
2. Add the olive oil to the bowl, stir with a spatula or a wooden spoon, and then slowly pour in the water, stirring as you go. Now, you can start working the dough with your hands.
3. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and kneed it for 5 minutes, or until it’s elastic. Add a bit more flour to the dough if it feels sticky (I didn’t have to add any, but I suspect it always depends on the temperature and/or humidity of the place you are in).
4. Divide the dough into 5 equal portions. Roll out each portion so that it’s about 32 cm (about 12.5 inches) long. Let it rest, covered with parchment paper, for 5 minutes at room temperature.
5. In the meantime, heat a large grilling pan over medium-high heat and lightly coat with olive oil. When hot, but not smoking, add the flatbreads (I added one at the time since my pan wasn’t large enough to accommodate more than one unit) and grill them for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
6. Serve right after cooking, drizzled with a little more olive oil and with an extra pinch of salt.