Monday, July 14, 2014


One of my life goals is to discover all of the different ways with which I can stuff fillings into bread-like vehicles for easy food consumption (because nothing is better then hand-held foods).  You would think this would be an easy task (how many riffs on the sandwich can there possibly be?) but it is not (do you know how many nationalities have their own version of a sandwich!).  This is why I am hear to talk about the piadina.  

I was introduced to the piadina by my parents (they tend to introduce me to all good things in this world).  It is a cross between a tortilla and a pita which I suppose makes it an Italian flatbread but calling it an Italian flatbread makes it sound so boring and un-special and piadina are the furthest thing from boring.  Essentially it is an unleavened bread that gets cooked over the grill until char marks appear (the char marks are key). It then gets topped with any number of things, though if this picture is any indication I am partial to delicious Italian goat cheese, sopressata, arugula, apricots, and a nice drizzle of honey.  

This is the perfect hot weather food and just the right vehicle for transferring the bounty that exists this time of year into your mouth via something other then your typical bread.  It also sounds cool which is reason enough to make it.  

Recipe from the NYTimes

Typically piadina are made with lard and while versions made with lard are spectacular, they aren't nearly as practical (who has lard on hand at all times?).  This version with olive oil allows you to make piadina any night of the week, no special ingredients necessary.   

Makes 8

2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or 3 ½ cups all-purpose if you want to omit the whole wheat)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
¼ cup olive oil
Optional toppings (but let’s be honest, the sky’s the limit) – Goat cheese, arugula, sliced peaches or apricots (or really any stone fruit), sopressata or salami, Tallegio (a personal favorite), shaved Pecorino, the list goes on..

In a food processor or heavy-duty mixer, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the water and oil. Process or mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 1 minute. Remove from the machine, and knead briefly by hand on a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with a bowl, and let rest 1 hour.

Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Cover all but 1 piece with a bowl. On a lightly floured surface, shape the piece into a ball. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to an 8-inch circle. Place a piece of wax paper on a large dinner plate, and put the circle of dough on it. Roll out the remaining dough, stacking the circles on the plate with wax paper in between. (To Note – You can store the rolled out piadina in the fridge for up to 2 days before cooking.)

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Heat a nonstick (or cast iron) skillet over medium-high heat. Test the temperature by flicking some droplets of water onto the surface; if the water sizzles and evaporates quickly, the griddle is ready. Place a circle of dough in the skillet. Cook 30 seconds, or until the dough begins to stiffen and turns golden brown. Flip the piadina, and brown the other side. Place the piadina on a piece of foil in the oven, and keep warm until serving.

Top each piadina with the toppings of your choice.  Fold the piadina in half and serve.  

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