“Cooking zucchinis slowly with garlic and olive oil has to be one of my favourite ways to deal with this summer vegetable,” says Gill Meller, who features this recipe in his new book – Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower.
For the flatbreads:
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fast-action dried yeast
- 2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 4 tablespoons natural yoghurt
For the topping:
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1.2kg zucchinis, sliced into 5mm rounds
- 1 small handful of dill, chopped
- 1 small handful of mint, leaves picked and thinly ribboned
- 1 small handful of basil, chopped
- 1 small handful of chives, chopped
- 150g soft goats’ cheese
- Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Make the flatbreads. Place the flour, salt, yeast, fennel seeds and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the oil, yoghurt and 275ml of water and mix everything thoroughly until it forms a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until soft and smooth.
2. (You can use a stand mixer with a dough hook for this part.) Shape the dough into a rough round and place in a lightly oiled bowl; cover with a clean cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for up to 24 hours.
3. When you’re ready to make the flatbreads, start the topping. Place a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add half the olive oil and when it’s hot add the garlic and sizzle for a few seconds, then add the zucchinis. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Cook the zucchinis slowly over a gentle heat, stirring regularly, for about 25 minutes or so, until they break down but still retain a little of their shape. They should be soft without colouring too much and almost spoonable in texture.
5. Take the pan off the heat, stir all but a handful of the herbs into the zucchinis, then season again to taste with plenty of salt and pepper.
6. Place three baking sheets in the oven (alternatively, bake one at a time if you have limited oven space) and heat the oven to 240°C/220°C fan/475°F/gas mark 8.
7. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, then cut it into three equal pieces. Form each piece into a nice neat round and leave to rest for 20 minutes or so. When you’re ready to bake the flatbreads, roll out the pieces of dough. They want to be quite thin, but don’t worry if they’re not especially round, that doesn’t matter.
8. Take the hot baking sheets out of the oven and place a rolled-out dough on each. Spread the zucchini mixture evenly over the top of each. Dot the goats’ cheese over the top of the zucchini mixture and trickle all over with some of the remaining olive oil. Add the chilli flakes, if using, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, too.
9. Place the trays in the oven for 12–14 minutes, or until the dough is puffed up and golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and slide onto a board. Sprinkle with a few reserved herbs and serve.
Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower: How To Cook With Vegetables And Other Plants by Gill Meller, photography by Andrew Montgomery, is published by Quadrille. Available now in hardback and ebook.
Are you much of a baker? Have you ever baked flatbreads?
– With PA
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