Sunday, October 17, 2010

Brie and Bacon Piadina, with Balsamic Fig and Onion Marmalade



I am ecstatic.  I am jubilant.  I am in round 5 of Foodbuzz's Project Food Blog!  This is such an exciting and fun competition, and I have been overwhelmed by the by both the quality of the posts from all the bloggers participating, and also by the huge support that I have received from my readers and other bloggers.  It is an honor to keep providing you with these entry posts and I hope you will continue to support me by voting for my entry on Foodbuzz The competition is pretty much at the halfway point, and I am thrilled to be moving ahead with a fantastic group of 72 other bloggers.  For this fifth challenge post, Foodbuzz asked us to get creative and put our own spin on the classic dish of Pizza.  

When I first saw that the chosen dish was pizza, I immediately thought of all the homemade doughs and the many pizzas I have enjoyed at home.  My go-to pizza dough recipe is fantastic and easy, but I wanted to stretch my boundaries and experiment with something slightly different, yet not so crazy that I wouldn't eat it on any normal day.  Enter the Piadina.  



For those of you not familiar with Piadinas, or Piadas, they are a very popular Italian flatbread sandwich that originates from the Emilia-Romagna region near the Adriatic Sea.  Traditionally, Piadinas are filled with cured meats, such as prosciutto and mortadella since they were first produced near the same region in Italy. Piadinas are also filled with various meats and cheeses, or even sweet fillings such as Nutella, and they can be eaten either warm or cold.  While traditional fillings tend to be the most popular, there are infinite possibilities for Piadina recipes.  In fact, the Italians have a saying, "Ogni donna fa la piadina a modo suo," or, "Every woman makes piadina in her own special way."  Well I decided I wanted to make my piadina in my own special way too, and so I channeled some of my favorite ingredients.


Before I tell you about the fillings and sauce that I decided to use, lets talk about the dough.  Piadina dough is made from simple ingredients of flour, water, and olive oil, and the absence of yeast classifies it as 'unleavened.'  You can add in any number of other flavorings such as spices, herbs, or pastes to change the taste of your flatbread.  What I really like about this dough is that it is extremely easy to work with (making it super easy for dough-beginners) and it can be made at a moment's notice since there is no rising time.   I kneaded my dough by hand and didn't have any problems with sticking or getting a smooth, elastic finish, but you could just as easily use the dough hook on a stand mixer.
   



Once the dough is made, it is rolled out very thinly and grilled over high heat on a griddle, skillet, or cast-iron pan.  Since it is so thin, it cooks very quickly and gets these awesome charred spots on both sides.  



After the Piadina is grilled, it is simply a matter of deciding what to fill it with, and if you want to eat it hot or cold.  You can make your Piadina in your own special way too, but my vote is for eating it hot; I think the flatbread tastes the best, and is there really anything better than melted, oozing, warm cheese?  

So lets talk toppings.  


I knew without a doubt that I wanted to use brie as my cheese, and that I had to have crispy bacon.  I love both brie and bacon, but I don't eat them nearly often enough.  I think they pair really well together too, since the brie is soft, creamy, and rich, while the the bacon is crispy and salty.  I was also really excited to find these great brie 'logs' which made cutting off slices for my Piadina super easy. 


      
Next, the sauce for my Piadina was absolutely killer.  (I can't wait to use it for so many other things!)  I had originally planned to top my Piadina with caramelized onions and then make a balsamic fig marmalade as the sauce.  But then I had a stroke of genius and decided to combine the two components, and I am soooo glad that I did.  The resulting balsamic fig and onion marmalade was the perfect balance of savory and sweet, and it was just the right thickness.  I also loved the way the tiny golden fig seeds studded the deep burgundy marmalade.  Beautiful. 



At this point I was thrilled with my melted brie, the smell of cooked bacon was making my mouth water, and I couldn't wait to taste both combined with my balsamic fig and onion marmalade; but yet, I felt like something was missing.  I thought maybe my Piadina was lacking some color, and suddenly a lightbulb went off in my head.  I quickly ran out to my porch where I am growing arugula and mizuna as part of my Artisan Ambassador Program with Fresh Express; I plucked out some tiny, bright green sprouts and added them on top of my brie, bacon, and marmalade.  And just like that, I knew my Piadina was complete.


 
Oh these flavors were fabulous.  This Piadina had it all: rich and creamy brie; salty bacon; sweet and savory marmalade; spicy, peppery, and crunchy arugula sprouts.  Really, there wasn't a single thing that I could have wanted for when I was eating this (except maybe a glass of wine...). 


For me, making Piadinas was the perfect way to remix pizza.  It had all the great things that I know and love about pizza, such as a tasty 'crust,' warm melted cheese, and delicious toppings.  Obviously the flatbread doesn't have the same soft, chewy crust as a pizza, but it does have a few major advantages: the dough can be made quickly and easily (no rising time); you can eat your Piadina as soon as you grill it (no waiting time while baking in the oven); and leftover grilled Piadinas transport easily to take to work for lunch the next day.  The other thing that I think is pretty neat, is that for a family or group of friends, each person could feasibly fill their Piadina with anything they want, making it easy to personalize and please everyone's tastes.  So next time you are thinking about making pizza, check out it's close cousin the Piadina; especially if you fill it with brie and bacon, I can guarantee it will be good.        



***This is my fifth entry for Project Food Blog challenge.   We were asked to get creative and put our own spin on Pizza.  For my entry I wanted to experiment with something I have never tried before, and now I know I will make Piadinas again and again.  I hope you will give them a try too!  Especially if you are a 'dough' beginner, they are very simple.   If you liked this post I would love it if you would vote for me!   You can check out my profile on Foodbuzz and vote starting 8AM PST, on Monday October 18th.   Thanks for your support and encouragement! 

Brie and Bacon Piadina, with Balsamic Fig and Onion Marmalade


Piadina Dough:
From Grilled Pizzas and Piadinas
Grilled Pizzas and Piadinas    
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
(makes 4 piadinas)





1 log of brie, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
8 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp and sliced into 1/2-inch slices
Roughly 1 cups of arugula, chopped, or arugula sprouts
1/2 cup balsamic fig and onion marmalade (recipe below)


First make the dough.  In a large bowl or stand mixer, add the flour, make a well in the center and add all the remaining ingredients.  Mix with a spoon or a fork (or the dough hook on your mixer), until the dough begins to come together.  If you are working with your stand mixer, you can mix with the dough hook for about 5 more minutes on medium speed.  If kneading by hand, turn out the dough ball onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for at least 5 more minutes, or until the dough feels smooth and elastic.  Form the dough into a ball, lightly oil it, and wrap it in plastic wrap.  Let it rest for 30 minutes, or overnight in the fridge (this lets the gluten relax). 


To grill your piadinas, prepare a cast iron skillet, heavy bottomed pan, or griddle over high heat (I used a cast iron skillet).  The surface should be very very hot.  Take your piadina dough, and divide it into four pieces; then roll out one piece at a time into rounds about 8 inches in diameter (they should be very thin).  Place the piadina on the surface of the skillet, and if it is hot enough, the dough will not stick.  Grill the piadinas for a few minutes or until bubbles begin to form on the surface, and the underside has charred spots.  Turn the piadina over (tongs are useful for this), and cook for just a few minutes more, until the bottom is light brown.  Remove from heat and cover.


To complete your piadina, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and place a rack in the top 1/3 of your oven.  Take a rimmed baking sheet, turn it over, and place the grilled piadina on the bottom.  Place 5-6 slices of brie down the center of the piadina, and slide the baking sheet into the preheated oven for just about 2-3 minutes, or until the brie is just melting.  Take it out of the oven, top the brie with the about 2 tbsp marmalade, followed by 2 pieces of sliced bacon, and about 1/4 cup arugula.  Fold in each side the piadina to close, and serve immediately.     





Balsamic Onion and Fig Marmalade: 
1 large sweet onion (Walla-Walla), sliced thinly
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
6 brown Mission Figs, roughly chopped 
1 tsp water, or more
(makes about 3/4-1 cup)



In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat; then add the onions, and brown sugar, and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Continue to cook the onions over medium heat for about 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are soft, translucent, and light brown.  Add the balsamic vinegar, turn the heat to low, and continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 10 more minutes.  When they are done, they will be deep, dark brown and will have absorbed all the vinegar.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then transfer to a microwave-safe bowl.  Add the chopped figs and water, cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or a lid for the bowl), and microwave on high heat for about 2 minutes to steam the figs.  Remove the bowl from the microwave, and the figs should be soft enough that they can be mashed with a fork.  Mix the figs together with the balsamic onions, and let cool slightly before serving. 

68 comments:

  1. Yea. I have been patiently waiting for this since we tweeted about the weather. I see gray skies did stop you from shining. GREG

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  2. What a wonderful post and I absolutely LOVE the piadina you chose. That Balsamic Fig and Onion Jam sounds amazing and a must make! Best of luck to you with the challenge - I am sure the cooler will be utilized by you. Have a great Sunday!1

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  3. This looks delicious! I love all of the flavors -- the balsamic/fig marmalade, the brie & bacon combinations, what a GREAT dish!

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  4. Wowza...this looks so good!! Very creative topping as well...I LOVE brie and bacon, but have never thought to combine them! Saving to make one weekend soon. I've never made my own dough, but maybe I should dig out the dough hook for my Kitchen Aid and give it a go! You've got m vote!!

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  5. yum, such fabulous flavor combinations! of course i love anything with brie. ;) great entry - good luck!

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  6. Those look delightful. I am totally pulling for you!!

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  7. I've never heard of Piadina and it was great to learn about something new from your entry. It looks soooo delicious.
    Mmm the flavor combinations are just incredible. Brie and Bacon and then fig and balsamic. I'm in love! I just love what you did with this challenge. Best of luck, I'm voting for you! :)

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  8. ERRR, I saw you tweeting that you weren't happy with these.. really? They look AMAZING! Start packing your cooler!!!!

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  9. This is the first pizza post that has actually made me want to get back in the kitchen and cook more pizza! Actually all your posts make me want to cook. In a recent blog post I made your leek confit with pear on ciabatta. Twas delicious.

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  10. Piadina are my favorite! Brie, bacon, and figs!wow! You did a great job. Congratulation on moving forward:)

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  11. I love the combination of flavors you chose for your piadina, well done! :)

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  12. Well, well, well ... that looks delightful! Did you know brie is my second favorite cheese of all time! Also, I adore grilled flat breads. So want a taste of that!

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  13. Beautiful! I had never heard of a piadina until this. They sound delicious and yours looks perfect! Good luck on the next round!

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  14. Dear woman, I am drooling on my keyboard..not good! HA HA, wonderful post

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  15. Fantastic! With all the lovely fresh ingredients I'm sure it tastes even better than it looks!

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  16. I can't wait to try making this piadina you speak of! I looooove pizza but patience for dough rising is not quite my forte. And pizza sauce? Not my favorite either. But this marmalade? Yes please!

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  17. Greg: thanks for the compliment, I managed to take advantage of just those few rays of sunlight. :)

    Wendy: You should definitely give it a try and you don't even need the dough hook if you don't want, this dough is super super easy to work with.

    Mardi: actually I made 3 different ones on Friday. I was displeased. This version, oh VERY pleased!

    Food, she thought: Thanks so much for mentioning my leek confit and I am glad my posts are inspiring you to cook!

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  18. what wonderful flavors you've chosen! this looks and sounds delicious, you've really outdone yourself! good luck!

    Leila@MyBarbarianTable

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  19. Oh my !! can I have this for lunch please ! Liking the marriage of flavors that you combined. I've never heard of this so very intrigued, I'm a novice to breads/doughs so this looks up my alley. Great job and so excited to see you here , can't wait to see what you have planned for the cooler.

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  21. This looks amazingly delicious! great job.

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  22. I had never heard of piadinas....yours looks fabulous! Well done!

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  23. Your piadinas look wonderful! Love the fig marmalade too!

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  24. LOVED it! and it feels perfect for fall. Piadinas are a wonderful way to make "grilled" pizza indoor: great choice!

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  25. Can I have one right now? Also I adore microgreens. They are so cute! (Yes, I think lettuce is cute.) Good luck!

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  26. This is gorgeous and exactly the cheesy/sweet/salty I would want.

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  27. GORRRRRRRRRRRRGEOUS. Absolutely gorgeous.

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  28. Congratulations!
    These piadina look scrumptious~!

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  29. Beautiful Amanda! you have my vote, congrats on moving forward!

    Whit @ Amuse Bouche

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  30. I love your piadina take on pizza! I've never heard of a piadina before, but I will definitely remember this one. Love your flavour combination too. You have nothing to worry about lady, you're going to advance for sure! You have my vote!

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  31. Hi Amanda, great job, it looks amazing, loved the use of Brie cheese. Must be so yummy.

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  32. Beautiful!! Your pictures and description make my mouth water...can't wait to try the piadina dough myself. Good luck in the contest - definitely voting for you!

    :o)

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  33. FANTASTIC! Amanda, this is so beautiful and I love the flavors you chose. I haven't had lunch yet and I am seriously craving this right now! I love every step of your process. Those baby greens rock! Beautiful pictures too!

    Amanda, I want to thank you for your kind words. What you said really touched me. Thank you so much. And of course, consider yourself voted for as well. All the best, Lauren

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  34. I love the wrap concept and it looks absolutely beautiful - nicely done!

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  35. I can't wait to try piadinas! Thanks for the great kitchen ideas, as always :)

    Best of luck!!

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  36. I've never had this but it looks so yummy! Will have to try the recipe soon :) Congrats on advancing and good luck!!

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  37. I'm on board with any pizza that has beautiful figs on them! Lovely piadinas!!!

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  38. Congrats to you for advancing in PFB. It is well deserved and your spin on pizza is very creative!

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  39. All such wonderful ingredients!!! LOVE you photos! Great job :)

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  40. I love! Making these on the weekend for sure. What a great twist on pizza!

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  41. Your piadina looks awesome! My mom/dad are from that part of Italy. Growing up, we ate piadine everyday, and still do. Will have to try the olive oil (we use lard.) Q: What does the lemon juice do?

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  42. Just beautiful! Congratulations on another wonderful post :)

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  43. Of course you have my support! Also anything with bacon and brie has my attention. I love the flatbread idea. Good luck, hoping I get to read your next post!
    -Gina-

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  44. This sounds fantastic:) Great photos too :)

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  45. You had my vote anyway because I love your blog, but this is phenomenal. The pictures are gorgeous too!

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  46. This looks so beautiful and tasty!

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  47. oh wow, this looks scrumptious! Now I crave a Piadina, and I've never even had one :)

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  48. This makes me want to make some piadini with the imported ones we have in our fridge (given as a gift of sorts b/c a work colleague was moving). My favorite combo is ricotta (with a little salt and pepper added), prosciutto, arugula and Parmigiano.

    I'm intrigued by the recipe you used--others I've seen have you incorporate lard, but yours only calls for olive oil. How was working the dough for you? Did it roll out easily? The whole lard thing (given that it's a pain to find) has prevented me from making my own in the past, but if it's as simple as this I want to give it a go.

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  49. Love the flavours you've mixed here... anything with brie and bacon can't possibly go wrong.
    Plus that fig and onion marmalade has me drooling all over my keyboard. :) That alone earns my vote. Good luck!

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  50. Fantastic flavors for the piadinas...gorgeous!

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  51. This sounds great! What a great combo of flavors. Good luck in this round!!

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  52. Looks incredibly delish! I'd love to make it, but I have trouble coming by fresh figs. Could I substitute rehydrated dried figs?

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  53. Love your take on this challenge. And brie + figs sounds soooooo good.

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  54. Congrats on making it to round #5!
    The piadina is SO beautiful...you are clearly a talented photographer as well as chef :)

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  55. I am your newest follower! So glad I found you!

    anne
    www.anniebakes.net

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  56. These are my favorite ingredients, too! Thank you for the beautiful presentation, engaging writing and delicious recipes. You have my vote.

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  57. Figs aren't going anywhere. We're going to keep seeing them pop up everywhere, and there's nothing wrong with it. Good luck in the challenge!

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  58. Holy cow, this looks totally amazing! Also, what am I doing sitting in lab instead of making that fig-onion marmalade? I obviously do not have my priorities straight. Good luck this round, although I really doubt you'll need it. :)

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  59. This looks great! Also, would you consider blogging about your go-to pizza dough for a non-pfb entry?

    Liz

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  60. The absolute most beautiful entry! Good luck! And I bet it tasted awesome too!
    LL

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  61. I can't wait to make this, and as a new Food Buzz member, I'll be sure to vote for you! This dish sounds absolutely mouthwateringly delicious, looking forward to trying more of your yummy ideas!

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  62. Ah thank you for trying to murder my arteries. Looks incredible. (Extra bacon and all that)

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  63. What a fabulous meal. I love piadina and have wanted to make them for ages but never have. You are tempting and encouraging me! And the filling is simply heaven! What a mouthful of flavors and so elegant! And congrats on making it to round 5!

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  64. This looks so good it even has my Mama interested (she is 88).

    How do we follow the works in progress of all the challenge's entries?

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