A weird thing happens when you become involved in the catering business. You begin to hate, detest, even loathe your own food. After week in and week out of making the same things over and over, the monotony of it all starts to get to you. Tasting the same flavors, sniffing the same smells- it can become almost unbearable. There was a time when I truly felt that if I had to look at even one more crab cake or caramel bar, I might just lose it.
Luckily for me, I’ve been out of the catering grind for almost a year and a half now, and oddly enough, I’ve been finding myself craving some of those dishes that I at one point used to abhor. Crab cakes are once again becoming desirable. I enjoyed making that batch of caramel bars a few weeks ago. As of last week, I even succumbed to my craving for Cheesy Zucchini and Red Onion Flatbread.
It happened very suddenly, you see. It was almost like I woke up one morning with Zucchini Flatbread on my mind and couldn’t shake the thought of it until I had a mouthful. I was left with no choice but to run out and buy fresh zucchini and squash, among a few other ingredients.
That’s the beauty of this recipe though. It involves minimal ingredients and really is a snap to put together. Not to mention, this flatbread is simply stunning to look at. Yellow summer squash, green zucchini and purple red onion slices- the presentation alone makes it a worthy option for your next soirée. Like I said, it’s so simple to assemble and can be cut into “finger food” like servings, making it the perfect party food. AND- it’s always a hit. I should know, I’ve made this flat bread countless times and not once have I witnessed one left over, lonely slice. Just try not to make this 300 times; you won’t want to get sick of this one. It’s too good to abandon for so long as I did.
Cheesy Zucchini and Red Onion Flatbread
Recipe Adapted from Bon Appètit, August 2006
Using a store bought crust (I use a can of Pillsbury thin crust pizza dough!) helps to eliminate quite a bit of time spent in the kitchen. Assemble the flatbread a few hours before the party, pop in the oven just before your guests begin to arrive, slice and serve, then watch it disappear! It tastes just as good at room temperature too, so there’s no need to be concerned about keeping it warm.
1, 11 oz tube refrigerated pizza dough
6.5 oz container garlic and herb cheese spread, divided and at room temperature (Alouette is a great brand for this!)
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 medium red onion
1, 6-7 inch long zucchini
1 6-7 inch long squash (try to find one that is more even in shape, versus bulbous)
ground black pepper
nonstick cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 375º F. Using a mandolin, slice the zucchini, squash and red onion into 1/8-inch thin slices. Remove the outer layers of the red onion slices so that you are left with slices that are about 2-inches in diameter.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Unroll the pizza dough onto parchment paper. Spread half of the garlic and herb cheese over one have of the pizza dough, length wise, leaving about a half inch plain border all the way around. Sprinkle half of the Parmesan and two tablespoons of parsley on top. Use the parchment paper to help fold the pizza dough in half, placing the plain half on top of the half spread with cheese. Do not seal the edges.
3. Spread the remaining herb cheese on top of dough and sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan. Arrange a row of red onion slices down the middle of the dough lengthwise, overlapping slightly. Arrange a row squash both above and below the row of onions, again overlapping slightly. Arrange a row of zucchini on top of each row of squash.
4. Brush the vegetables with olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and golden around the edges. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley. Cut into 10-12 slices, crosswise. (Cut each slice in half again for a more finger food friendly appetizer). Serve and enjoy!
Makes about 10-12 servings