Bread has always been the staple. “Rice didn’t make it to this region until maybe this last century. Bread has always been the staple,” says Azhar Hashem, owner of Tawla restaurant in San Francisco.
The region she’s referring to is the Eastern Mediterranean—Turkey, Greece, the Levant, and Iran—and the bread there is flat. They act as utensils, scooping up hummus and eggplant spread, or as vehicles for entire meals, or as sponges, soaking up meat drippings in kebab shops. “The flatbreads are thin, so they cook fast, which means they’re usually prepared to order and land in your hands still warm.
Spinach and Three Cheese Gözleme
Recipe from Sofra Bakery, Cambridge, MA
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- Yufka Dough (find the recipe in our Fall 2016 Issue)
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped Spanish onion
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably sheep’s or goat’s milk
- 1 cup grated kasseri cheese
- ½ teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt, plus more as needed
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
- ¼ cup chopped fresh spearmint leaves
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4½ cups spinach, cut into thin ribbons
- Follow the directions to make the yufka dough, transfer to a zip-top plastic bag, and store at room temperature.
- Heat the olive oil and onion in a sauté pan over medium-low heat and sweat the onion until softened, about 8 minutes. Using a spatula, scrape into a large mixing bowl and add the ricotta cheese, feta cheese, kasseri cheese, salt, parsley, mint, dill, and pepper to taste.
- When you are ready to assemble, put about ⅓ cup cheese filling on each yufka and smooth it to the edges in a very thin layer. Sprinkle evenly with ¾ cup spinach and season lightly with salt. Fold the left side in towards the middle and then the right side towards the middle, overlapping by about ½ inch, to form a rectangle shape with an open top and bottom.
- When the gözleme are assembled, heat an 11- to 12-inch cast-iron or nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Place two gözleme at a time, seam side down, in the pan. Cook until the filling is hot, the spinach is wilted, and the bread is lightly toasted on one side but still soft on the other, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip to the other side and cook 1 minute more to heat through. Place on a tray and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm while you cook the remaining four gözleme. Cut into halves or strips and serve immediately.
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Read the whole article in Bake From Scratch Fall 2016.