Whole wheat Flat bread with Pesto and Beech Mushroom

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on November 18, 2008

I went on a spur of the moment trip to Atlanta last week to see my friend M. In the 21 hours I was there, we managed to have three and a half delicious meals, a couple of drinks, broke M’s phone and got her car towed. Trying to retrieve M’s car from the towing lot at 4am was quite an adventure. The second most memorable part of the trip was the lunch we had at Cafe Intermezzo. For starters, M and I shared a fabulous wild mushroom flat bread. Ever since, Ive been wanting to recreate the dish at home. I used whole wheat flour and some wheat germ in my flat bread. I made a version of this food network recipe by Kathleen Daeleman. I topped it with some beech mushrooms I bought at the Asian store. Also known as Buna Shimeji or Bunapi, these Japanese mushrooms grow on beech trees – hence the name. For a little mushroom, these guys pack a lot of flavor. Baby bellas, white button mushrooms or shitake will all make great substitutes.

Ingredients

For the dough (if you don’t want to make your own, just use store bought pizza dough)

Whole wheat flour – 1 1/2 cup
Wheat germ – 1-2 tbsp, optional
Active dry yeast – 1 packet (8.75 grams)
Fresh Rosemary or thyme – 2 tsp finely chopped
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Sugar – 1/4 tsp
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Water at room temperature – 1/2 cup
Hot water – 1/4 cup

For topping

Pesto – 4 tbsp
Red bell pepper – 1, cut into thin strips
Beech mushroom – 1 cluster. Substitute with white button, baby bella or shitake mushrooms
Garlic – 2 cloves minced
Salt
Pepper

Place the yeast and sugar in a bowl and add 1/4 cup hot water. Water temperature must be 110 to 115 F. Stir to dissolve. In a few minutes, the water will turn frothy like the picture above. To the yeast, add all remaining dough ingredients except the oil. Knead lightly to form a dough. Brush the dough with olive oil, cover and keep in a warm place for about one hour. I live in a cold climate, so I turn on my space heater to 80 degrees F and place the dough near it. In about an hour the dough would have doubled in size.

Place the dough on a clean work surface and knead it well for about 5 to 7 minutes. Divide the dough into 2 portions. Form each half into a long rectangle either using your hands or a rolling pin. Dust some flour on the dough if it is too sticky while rolling. Place the dough rectangles on a cookie sheet.

Pre heat oven to 400. Cut off the base from the beech mushroom cluster and separate the individual mushrooms. If using a different variety of mushroom, slice into pieces.

Spread pesto on the dough rectangles. Then sprinkle minced garlic over the pesto. Arrange the mushrooms and red pepper strips on top. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Bake flat bread in the oven for 12-15 minutes or untill the bread is lightly golden.

Some Tasty Variations

Try these toppings: caramelized onions, kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus or pine nuts.
Sprinkle some cheese over the flat bread and then arrange the vegetables on top of the cheese(mozzarella, parmesan, fontina or brie will be great).
For a dessert flat bread, top with grilled pineapples and chocolate.
For a shortcut, use store bought pizza dough.

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