When life gives you lemons, make apple juice! I have somehow always lived by this motto. Sometimes, it is just not possible to make this anomaly work but most of the time there is always a work around. It makes life more interesting and definitely more fun. So when The Good Guys sent me the final appliance – a spunky looking compact George Forman grill as part of Kidspot’s VOICES of 2013 Food & Wellbeing Challenge, I decided to bake a bread in it.
Our secret ingredient to accompany the grill challenge was herbs. I knew what I wanted to make the day the grill arrived on my doorstep. It was an idea I had been toying with in my mind for a while. But life and work took over and it took me until the last day of the challenge to perfect the recipe for your viewing pleasure.
I mixed a simple bread dough with polenta for crunch. I let it rise for half an hour. I whipped up a fresh batch of pesto using a handful of lovely herbs from my garden. I spread the pesto and some cheese on the dough and folded it over. I topped it with lots of fresh rosemary and olives. I grilled it for 20 minutes and we had a delicious hot pre dinner snack.
HERB PESTO STUFFED GRILLED FLATBREAD
An easy and quick flatbread stuffed with beautiful herb pesto and grilled on a simple electric grill becomes a hot crunchy barbecue side.
Makes – To Serve 4
1 teaspoon dried instant yeast
1 teaspoon raw sugar
3/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups strong white flour
1/4 cup polenta
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for greasing
extra flour for dusting
3 tablespoons herb pesto (see note)
handful of shredded mozzarella cheese
12 pitted Kalamata olives
handful of fresh rosemary leaves
olive oil spray
Place yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl. Stir and set aside for 10 minutes until the mixture is frothy with bubbles.
Place flour, polenta, salt and olive oil in a large bowl. Mix lightly with a fork. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix lightly with your hand and bring together to form a dough. Using a mix of extra flour and olive oil, knead the dough for 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Cover with a tea towel and set aside to rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
Turn on the George Foreman grill. Spray both surfaces with olive oil. Stretch the dough into a rectangular shape. Along the shorter edge, place pesto and sprinkle some cheese. Fold the dough over and shape the dough into a rectangle shape 20cm x 15cm. Press down the edges to seal. Place on the flat grill surface. Scatter the top of the dough with fresh rosemary leaves. Make 12 indents on the dough surface by pressing lightly with your finger. Place an olive in each indent. Drizzle some extra olive oil on top, pull the top of the grill down and grill covered for 10 minutes. Open the lid, using a wooden spatula, gently turn the bread back to front and grill for another 10 minutes until evenly cooked and browned. Serve hot.
Place a large handful of fresh basil leaves, few sprigs of thyme, handful of pine nuts, one garlic clove, 1/4 of shredded parmesan, a pinch of salt and generous glugs of olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and process to a coarse paste. Voila pesto!