Olive Oil Flatbreads with Provençal Herbs
This recipe is a twist on Spanish olive oil crackers, known as tortas de aceite. The herbed sugar-salt mix creates a sweet and salty crackly caramel surface in the high heat of the oven. The flatbreads are irresistible on their own but would pair well with an oozy Camembert.
THE HERB TOPPING: The day before baking the flatbreads, in a medium-size bowl, mix together the sugar and salt. Chop the herbs finely, adding 1 tablespoon of the sugar-salt mixture to keep the herbs from sticking to the knife.
Add the chopped herbs and fennel seeds to the remaining sugar-salt mixture. Rub them together with your fingers to release as much of the essential oils as possible. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan. Let dry overnight. (This will make more than you’ll need for the recipe, but the leftovers keep well in an airtight container.)
THE FLATBREAD: In a large bowl, mix ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of the warm water with the yeast. Set aside until the yeast dissolves and bubbles. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl, and mix well. Add the olive oil to the yeast. Mix in the flour. As the wet and dry combine, gradually add the remaining ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons water, if needed (you may not need all of the water––you don’t want the dough to be sticky). Work in until incorporated and the dough is smooth. Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 450ºF. Line two 12" x 17" sheet pans with parchment paper. Pinch off pieces of the dough, each one a little larger than a golf ball. Roll each piece into a very thin 8-inch oval. Transfer two ovals of dough to each baking sheet. Brush with the glaze mixture. Sprinkle with a generous amount of the herbed sugar-salt mixture.
Bake 5 minutes; change positions of the two sheet pans top to bottom. Continue baking about 5 minutes longer or until the flatbreads puff up and are lightly caramelized on top. Keep a careful eye on them during the last few minutes of baking so the sugar doesn’t burn. After they cool, store in an airtight container, where they’ll keep for several days.
Written by Emily Gold
Photography by John Gruen