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Flatbread with Feta, Thyme and Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

This beautiful flatbread is inspired by ingredients from the Mediterranean. The feta adds a salty, slightly tart taste that balances the sweet, smoky flavors of the oven-roasted tomatoes. Cut it into pieces and serve as an appetizer with a light, fruity white wine, such as Albariño or Pinot Grigio.

Ingredients:

For the oven-roasted tomatoes:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil as needed, plus 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml)
  • 4 to 5 lb. (2 to 2.5 kg) plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more, to taste

For the dough:

  • 1 package (2 1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) warm water (110ºF/43ºC)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups (10 oz./315 g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • Cornmeal or rice flour for dusting
  •  
  • 3 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 6 oz. (185 g) French feta cheese, crumbled
  • 20 to 24 oil-cured black olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

To prepare the oven-roasted tomatoes, preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Oil 2 rimmed baking sheets.

Lay the tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Brush with the 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle with the 1/2 tsp. salt. Roast until the tomatoes are slightly shrunken, about 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 225°F (110°C) and continue to roast until the tomatoes have softened, collapsed onto themselves and are slightly caramelized, about 2 hours more. Let cool to room temperature, then season with salt. You will need 16 roasted tomatoes for the flatbread; reserve the rest for another use.

To make the dough, in a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water, stir in the sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the yeast mixture to a food processor. Add the olive oil, the 2 cups flour and the salt and pulse until a soft dough forms, adding more flour if needed to reduce stickiness. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat to 500ºF (260ºC). Dust a rimless baking sheet with cornmeal.

Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half of the dough into a rough oval about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Arrange half of the tomatoes evenly over the dough. Sprinkle evenly with half each of the thyme and cheese and dot with half of the olives.

Slide the flatbread onto the hot stone and bake until the crust is bubbly and crisp underneath, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with half of the olive oil, cut into pieces and serve. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings. Makes 2 flatbreads.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cheese, by Georgeanne Brennan (Weldon Owen, 2010).