Flatbread pizza or, my ode to feta cheese - FamilyEducation

Flatbread pizza or, my ode to feta cheese

April 11,2011

I've recently discovered the allure of flatbread--not the super-flat, cracker-like flatbread, but the doughy type that's more like naan bread. I prefer it over pita bread, which always seems so cardboard-like to me, no matter where I buy it.

Both kids love flatbread, and it's an easy way to add to a meal. If we're eating something with Indian flavors I'll spread Earth Balance on one side of each bread, stack the flatbreads together, wrap in tinfoil and let bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. The bread gets soft, and the Earth Balance oozes perfectly into the top layer of bread. 

I've recently discovered the simple joys of flatbread pizzas, too. L., food purist that he is, won't touch them. T., however will eat certain kinds of flatbread pizzas. Her favorite flatbread pizza recipe involves spreading peanut butter over the top, and slicing apples or bananas, then topping with a drizzle of honey. We'll bake the whole thing in the oven at 350 for about fifteen minutes--just until the apples or bananas brown and everything gets gooey.

Months ago, when I was researching vegan alternatives to pizza, I discovered a recipe for hummus pizza. Instead of tomato sauce, the recipe called for spreading hummus over the pizza dough, then topping with mediterranean vegetables like roasted peppers, black olives, sauteed zucchini, and even wilted spinach and generous handfuls of fresh basil. I never tried it, but I think I've been turning this idea of a hummus pizza around in my head every since. I also knew that my undoing in this whole vegan business was going to be feta cheese--my Achilles heel. I can't remember a time I didn't like the stuff. Feta cheese to me is everything I love about Greece: it's the sunbaked round rocks scattered across a Cycladic beach; it's the shady veranda at my grandparents' apartment, and the long, heavy tendrils of jasmine that my grandmother loved so much; it's long, hot, languid afternoons, and cool, fragrant evening walks down to Flizvos beach. It's the sound of my grandparents' voices in the morning, as they shared coffee and bread and jam together. One bite of feta cheese is enough to bring all those things rushing back to me in a single moment. Now that the weather is warming up, and my thoughts are turning to summer, I've been craving the flavor that has been such a staple in my life, and at the summer table of my childhood, and such an evocative presence at so many meals.

So on Sunday, while Scott and the kids had leftover stir-fry from the night before, I made a hummus flatbread pizza for myself. I won't post a specific recipe, since the beauty of flatbread pizzas (and any pizza, really), is the spontaneity of it all. I spread a generous layer of hummus over the bread, and I topped it with feta cheese and sliced green olives I had recently bought at the Whole Foods olive bar. I really wanted kalamata olives, since everyone know that feta and kalamata olives should always--always--be paired together, but we were out (thanks to a spring pasta dish I made a few nights ago). I drizzled the cheese and olives with olive oil, squeezed some lemon juice over the top, and popped it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Feta doesn't really melt visibly the way mozzarella does, but if you touch it with the back of a knife while it's baking it will suddenly ooze and spread just as well as any other cheese--that's when I took it out.


And I ate it all, very quickly, and didn't even save any for Scott.