Sometimes you just need a mouthful of umami: that indescribable savory unctuousness, even meatiness, that defines many of our favorite foods. This dish is quick to prepare (about 30 minutes if you've got a bread/dough on hand), and will leave you satisfied without feeling heavy. It was inspired by the the last delivery of our winter CSA from Penn's Corner, which included chives, local pecorino style cheese, and fresh crimini mushrooms. Mushrooms and aged cheese each pack an savory wallop, and when you bring this together with deep browning of the mushrooms and flat-bread crust, it makes for an unbeatable combination. For those less inclined toward vegetarian cooking, this recipe will not let you down.
- 1 pound of your favorite bread dough (I used Sourdough Rye)
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, roughly sliced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon thyme (fresh preferred)
- 1/2 pound pecorino cheese, shredded (you can use any flavorful aged cheese)
- 1 bunch chives, coarsely chopped
- Stretch your dough into a rough rectangle, about 10" by 15". You want the dough to be about 1/8" thick. It can be a very messy shape and it doesn't have to be even in thickness. If you have trouble stretching the dough, feel free to use a rolling pin. Dust the dough liberally with flour. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes while you prepare the mushrooms and preheat your grill. If you want to use a pre-made dough, skip directly to step 2.
- Turn your grill on high, while you prepare the mushrooms.
- Heat a heavy bottom pan (cast iron preferably, but a non-stick will also do) on high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the butter, stirring until it is melted. Add the mushrooms, and allow to brown for 2 minutes before stirring. Stir about once per minute for 7 more minutes until your mushrooms are golden brown (see photo). Don't stress about doneness on your mushrooms -- you have wide range of delicious textures and tastes to land in. If you cook them longer they will get drier, more deeply caramelized, and even crispy. If you cook them less, they will be juicer and less browned, but equally delicious.
- When you achieve your desired browness on the mushrooms, remove pan from heat and add the garlic, salt, and thyme. Stir to combine.
- Make sure your grill is fully preheated and clean. Dampen a wad of paper towels with a bit of cooking oil (canola is what we use) and use this to quickly wipe down the grate on your grill. The grill is extraordinarily hot at this point! Be quick so as not to burn yourself or catch your wipe on fire! The oil will smoke as soon as it is applied. Moving quickly, transfer the dough to the grill and shut the lid.
- Wait 4 minutes, and open the grill lid. It should look like the picture below, puffy with bubbles and having lost its glossy doughy look. Using a thin spatula work your way under the bread to release it from the grill. You should have deep brown grill marks that release easily from the grill. If it seems to be sticking give it another minute of cook time, and try again. Flip the bread.
- Sprinkle the mushrooms, cheese and chives onto the bread. Close the lid of the grill and wait another 4 minutes. When you open the grill it should look like the picture below with the cheese nicely melted.
- Transfer the flatbread to a cutting board, allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, slice, and enjoy!