Flatbreads are essentially the best casual food carriers for just about anything. With summer comes a bounty of vividly red, sweet tomatoes so today’s recipe simply had to include these love apples. Long story short for this Ricotta & tomato flatbread with sumac and herb oil : Crisp whole wheat crust, lemony ricotta cream and roasted heirloom tomatoes. Slide it into a hot oven and Bob’s your uncle. Once the tomatoes are blistered and puckered, it’s time to pour the wine and tuck in.
There are many roads to Rome, as there are ways to make flatbread. I made this base with a yeasted recipe but if kneading and rolling isn’t your thing, a good store bought puff pastry will do the trick. What is essential to the success of this flatbread, is salting and draining the tomatoes prior to cooking. Drawing the water out will prevent excessive seeping and goes a long way to intensifying the flavour of the tomatoes.
To the ricotta, I add grated lemon zest, sea salt flakes and some olive oil for a full, rounded mouthfeel. The tomatoes are seasoned with Sumac, a Middle Eastern spice made from wild berries. It’s tart and lemony and definitely worth seeking out. Locally, it’s available from Nomu. If you’re wondering what else to do with sumac, whisk it into salad dressings or sprinkle over Turkish eggs. It’s also delicious mixed into a spicy lamb tagine.
You could stop here but the herb oil adds a bright citrusy note that compliments the tomatoes perfectly. It’s also a useful way to use up left over herbs. Chop them up real fine and whisk with lemon juice, a glug of peppery extra virgin olive oil and that’s it. Simple food made good.
When to make this flatbread:
- Meatless Mondays
- Midweek suppers – add red peppers, peppered salami, mushrooms and feta
- Casual weekend get togethers – make a couple maybe? One would seem ridiculous
- Great Book club potential
- Ricotta and tomato flatbread with sumac and herb oil
- 125g cake wheat flour (all-purpose white flour)
- 125g whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 160ml tepid water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Ricotta spread
- 300g (1 1/4 cup) soft ricotta or cream cheese
- zest of half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups multi-coloured heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- Herb oil
- a handful of each, oregano, thyme and basil
- ½ teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- zest of half a lemon plus the juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Start by making the flatbread dough. Combine the flours, yeast and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Add the water and oil and combine. Once the dough comes together, turn out onto a floured board and knead for 6-8 minutes.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and proof until doubled in size.
- Season the tomatoes with a generous pinch of sea salt flakes and place in a colander to drain for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200º C.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured board and roll into a long oval. Transfer to a lined baking sheet. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside to proof for 20 minutes.
- Combine the ricotta, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Spread evenly over the flatbread base.
- Blot the tomatoes with kitchen paper to remove excess water. Lay the tomatoes on the ricotta and sprinkle with sumac. Drizzle a little olive oil on top and bake for 30 - 35 minutes. The crust needs to be crisp and golden.
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the herb oil and drizzle over the flatbread. Serve warm.