Sunday 29 April 2018

Coca (Savoury Flatbreads) from Barcelona Cult Recipes

Coca, Savoury Flatbread from Barcelona Cult Recipes by Stephan Mitsch | salt sugar and i

The other week I had some friends over on a friday night and went a little crazy at the fancy grocery store near work buying cheeses and antipasto goodies. I over catered for three but I always seem to over cater when it comes to snacks. I’d rather have too much than not enough, I have nightmares of people leaving hungry.

What do you do with leftovers bits and pieces of an antipasto? sure, you can just eat them as is - delicious! But where’s the adventure in that?

I have also recently been sent a copy of Barcelona Cult Recipes by Stephan Mitsch and as much as I wish I could tell you a story of a time I went to Barcelona and fell in love with a dish and have now recreated it, I can’t. I’ve never been to Barcelona but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate their foods from afar which is what this book really does. The tapas in this book look incredible; croquettes with chorizo, meatballs with peas, pickled anchovies, stuffed potato balls, artichoke chips and stuffed piquillo peppers to name a few. There are definitely a couple recipes which sound a little adventurous for me...baked snails and mushroom stuffed pig’s trotter but the recipe that really caught my eye was the Coca, savoury flatbreads. They use up the leftover bits and pieces (perfect!) and are covered in garlicky herbed olive oil... um, yum.

Coca, Savoury Flatbread from Barcelona Cult Recipes by Stephan Mitsch | salt sugar and i

Coca, Savoury Flatbread from Barcelona Cult Recipes by Stephan Mitsch | salt sugar and i

Coca, Savoury Flatbread from Barcelona Cult Recipes by Stephan Mitsch | salt sugar and i

The recipe says to roll them thin which is what I did and it gives you crunchy edges and a soft centre but coca come in all sorts of ways, thin and thick and have almost any leftovers on them except for cheese. I emptied the leftover bits of antipasto (semi-sundried tomatoes, olives and artichokes) from the cheese platter leftovers and used the garlic and herb infused oil from the antipasto jars. They were great! A good addition to a snack board or even just as a starter if you’re having people over. They are definitely something to share as the recipe makes quite a lot and I’m not sure how they would freeze but they tasted better the day they were baked, rather than the day after. It just means you need to invite friends over, never a bad thing.

They reminded me of fancy and much more tasty bread sticks you used to get at italian restaurants. When did they stop? I haven’t seen them in years! I used to love them as a kid.

For those of you looking at this recipe and yes it’s a dough, don’t feel apprehensive. It’s a very easy dough to work with (by hand) and the kneading doesn’t take long at all, it all comes together very quickly. I used the microwave as my warm place by putting the dough in an oiled bowl, covering it with a shower cap and then placing a mug of just boiled water next to it and shutting the door for the half an hour it required. Worked a treat!

I will be making these again for the next time I have people over as something different and even though it says traditionally that cheese isn’t added, cheese makes everything taste better so I wouldn't say no to adding it next time.

Coca, Savoury Flatbread from Barcelona Cult Recipes by Stephan Mitsch | salt sugar and i

Coca - Savoury Flatbreads

Recipe from Barcelona Cult recipes by Stephan Mitsch

Coca is a type of flatbread that is popular all across Catalonia. It originated on the Balearic Isles and is quite similar to pizza. Coca is always made from a yeast dough, which is then topped with vegetables, fish or meat. There are innumerable varieties: square, round, oblong shapes with a thin and crispy or thicker and softer base, with sweet or savoury toppings. Often, coca topping simply consist of leftover ingredients from the previous day, but there’s one thing that NEVER goes on a coca, and that cheese.

For the topping:
Fresh or dried mediterranean herbs (rosemary, bay leaf and, above all, thyme)
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
100ml olive oil
Red capsicum, peeled or from a jar, cut into strips (or whatever leftovers you have)

For the dough:
20g fresh yeast (I used 10g dried)
1 pinch sugar
500g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine
Oil and flour for the bench top and baking tray

Prepare the herb oil: 
Marinate the herbs and garlic in the olive oil for 1-2 hours. Remove the garlic, if preferred, or leave in the oil.

Prepare the yeast dough: 
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 250ml (1 cup) warm water in a small bowl. Add the flour and salt to a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour the dissolved yeast into the well, combine with a little flour to make a starter and leave to rise for 10 minutes at room temperature. Add the olive oil and white wine and combine all ingredients. Knead to make a smooth dough. Cover and set aside to rise in a warm spot until the dough had doubled in volume. This will take about 30 minutes.

Bake the Coca: 
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Briefly knead the dough once more and roll it out thinly on a surface dusted with flour. Transfer to a baking tray and peirce all over tieh a fork. Leave to rise for another 10 minutes.

Spread the base generously with the herb oil and herbs. Divide the capsicum evenly over the base and bake coca for 20-25 minutes.

Alternatively, top the base with any tasty combinations of blanched spinach, pine nuts and raisins, salt and pepper, or capsicum, onions and cured meats, sardines, tuna or smoked mackerel - there is no limit to your imagination.

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