I’m going to be honest, I don’t entirely know the difference between a flatbread and a pizza. I tend to think of pizzas as having lots of melty cheese, but that’s not essential. Anyway, I’m calling these flatbreads because I think they work great as an appetizer and not necessarily as a meal on their own.
That said, Betsy and I absolutely ate these as a meal on their own so I’m kind of breaking my own rules.
Anyway… that is all sort of semantics. It doesn’t really matter what you call them. They are really good. You should be able to find some good asparagus which gets nicely browned in the oven since it is shaved so thin. The pecorino cheese isn’t 100% essential, but adds some richness to the flatbreads.
They key to this Asparagus Flatbread recipe though is the sauce. It’s a bacon jam. ‘Nuff said.
1) Stir together dry ingredients in a medium bowl and then stir in wet ingredients. STir together until the ingredients are in a small ball. Knead the dough for 5-6 minutes in the bowl until the dough is soft and springy. If it is dry or flaky, add a bit more water. If it's very sticky, add more flour by the tablespoon.
2) Lightly oil a bowl and transfer dough to the bowl. Cover lightly and let rise for about 90 minutes until the dough at least doubles in size.
For bacon jam:
1) Slice onions and add to a medium pot with butter over medium heat. Cook until onions start to soften, about 6-7 minutes. Season with salt.
2) Add in chopped bacon and cook until bacon is cooked and is starting to brown, another 6-7 minutes. Stir it occasionally so onions continue to cook regularly.
3) Add beer, vinegar, sugar, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the liquid all evaporates and onions are a nice brown color.
4) When jam is cooked down, remove from heat and let cool until needed.
To make flatbreads:
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Punch down dough and split into two (for large flatbreads) or four for smaller flatbreads.
2) On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a large oval and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3) Top flatbread with a good amount of bacon jam. You should use all the jam if you make two large flatbreads.
4) Top flatbreads with shaved asparagus, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
5) Bake flatbreads for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees F until dough is golden brown and asparagus is lightly browned.
6) Remove from oven, cut into pieces and generally top with grated pecorino cheese.
Serve immediately but this flatbread is also surprisingly delicious cold.
Bacon jam adapted from a Dine & Dash recipe.
You could use a mixer for this dough, but honestly it’s easy enough to do it by hand. You could also very easily just use a pre-bought dough for this since the dough is really just a vessel for the bacon jam and toppings.
If you do want to make the dough from scratch though, stir together the dry ingredients and then add wet ingredients. Stir the dough together until it forms a ball and then just lightly knead the dough in the bowl for a few minutes until it’s soft but not sticky at all. You’ll need to knead it for 5-6 minutes.
If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour. If it’s dry and cracking then feel free to add another drizzle of water.
When the dough is kneaded well, drizzle some oil into the bowl and coat the dough in oil. Then let it rise for at least 90 minutes until it doubles in size.
I let my dough sit for a bit too long so it probably tripled in size, but that’s no big deal really.
You can prepare the other ingredients while the dough rises!
This is the real treat on this Asparagus Flatbread. You really only need a few things to make this delicious jam.
Slice the onions and add them into a pot with butter over medium heat. Cook the onions until they start to soften which should take 5-6 minutes.
Then add the chopped bacon and continue to cook until the bacon starts to brown, about 6-7 more minutes.
Then add the vinegar, brown sugar, and beer. You won’t need a full beer so feel free to sip on the extras.
Continue to cook this down until most of the liquid is evaporated and the jam is thick and slightly sweet. Season the jam with salt and pepper and set it aside until needed!
This stuff would be great on all kinds of stuff. I could see putting it on hot dogs or burgers. Try not to eat all of it before you make the flatbreads!
Finishing the Flatbreads
I guess you could just chop the asparagus if you wanted, but the shaved veggies looks really pretty and it will cook more evenly and get sort of crispy around the edges which is great.
It’s not to hard if to shave the asparagus if you have a good veggie peeler!
When you’re ready to make a flatbread, divide the dough between 2-4 pieces depending on how many flatbreads you want. I made two really big ones and then just chopped them up.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Put a good layer of the bacon jam on the dough and then pile the shaved asparagus on top. Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil and season it with salt!
Bake this Asparagus Flatbread for 15 minutes or so at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until the crust is browned and the asparagus is lightly browned and crispy.
The flatbread is pretty good just like this to be honest. But you can definitely take it to the next level with a heavy dusting of grated pecorino cheese!
These are crazy good and use a great summer veggie.
I try not to use my oven too much in the summer, but it was worth heating it up for these bad boys. They were really delicious.