(Note: this post was originally published on October 8, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, I'm back with another decadent "California Harvest" creation. Last week was this stunning centerpiece salad, and today it's a flatbread. Make one of these dishes to accompany any special meal from now through the holidays, or make them together for a very unique salad/pizza pairing that everyone will love.
As I talked about in my last post, I had the incredible privilege of visiting a (local! Vermont!) fig orchard last month. I wanted to do something really special and surprising with the figs we picked there, and so I've developed a two-part series: a salad and a flatbread with the same ingredients. Both celebrate the harvest season, are decidedly California-inspired, and put figs as the stars of the show.
I've chosen all of the other ingredients here to really highlight these gorgeous figs. Avocado provides luscious creaminess, pomegranate arils lend juiciness, and pistachios give the most satisfying nuttiness and crunch. All are very special, festive, iconic foods for fall and the holidays.
You can easily take this idea and put it on whatever flatbread you like. Use your favorite thin crust pizza recipe, or buy dough from your local bakery. Naan would also work great.
My preference though?? My absolute favorite chick pea flatbread, Farinata. This one-ingredient wonder (it's seriously just chick pea flour... plus water and salt) is the easiest, most nourishing, most flavorful flatbread option out there. It's traditional throughout the Mediterranean, although goes by different names in different regions ("farinata" being one of the Italian terms).
I really hope you'll give this classic Italian flatbread a try; you can find all the details you need and step-by-step photos in my Technical Guide to Farinata. It works perfectly with all these fun, festive fall toppings!
You'll see that I chose not to use a sauce on this flatbread. In my opinion, it really doesn't need it since there's so much moisture from the avocado and fruit. But if you want to go that route, it would be wonderful to slather the flatbread in pesto before layering on the other ingredients.
My only "sauce" here is a big drizzle of balsamic reduction. You can easily make it at home by boiling down balsamic until it has thickened sufficiently to coat the back of a spoon. An aged balsamic, which has a thicker texture than un-aged, would also work great. Then finish it off with a very generous grind of black pepper to offset the sweetness of the fruit.
You'll also see that I didn't include cheese in this recipe. There's already so much going on! But if you're a cheese lover, choose something that you enjoy alongside fruit. My preference would be some crumbled feta or goat cheese! Yum!! Cheddar could work nicely too. Given that the avocado is already so creamy and decadent, I'd suggest using a light hand with the cheese.
Let's Talk Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Pizza dough. This concept will work fine with whatever pizza dough you like best, although of course I love it on farinata. I suggest choosing something thin so that the toppings really stand out.
Fresh figs. The star of the show! Make sure they're perfectly ripe. You can see in the photos here that I actually used a few different types of figs together.
Pomegranate arils. There are some good tutorials online for how to open and clean a pomegranate; check them out if you're unfamiliar. Look for one that feels dense and has a vibrant, smooth red peel.
Pistachios. I much prefer roasted and salted for maximum flavor.
Balsamic reduction. Or aged balsamic, which is thick and syrupy. You can easily make a balsamic reduction yourself by cooking regular balsamic down until it becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Regular balsamic definitely won't work because it's too liquidy and will just make a mess.
Salt and pepper
And there you have it! Two related dishes (the salad and the flatbread) to celebrate the (California) harvest, which use an overlapping set of very special ingredients. Serve them separately or together, or on subsequent days since you'll have all the ingredients anyways. Both are easy enough for any night of the week, but festive enough for a holiday meal.
I think both of these dishes prove that food doesn't need to be fatty, salty, cheesy, or greasy to be decadent. In my opinion, figs, avocados, pomegranates, and pistachios are some of the most seductive, decadent ingredients out there. The combination is magical!
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Generous sprinkle of flavorful, flaky sea salt like fleur de sel
Generous grind of black pepper
Prepare and cook your flatbread dough as needed based on what recipe you choose to use. If you use my chick pea farinata, check out the post here for all the details. Cook it completely, since you won't cook it any further after adding the toppings.
Slice the pear very thinly and lay the slices on the flatbread.
Slice the figs and avocado thinly and lay them on top.
Scatter pomegranate arils and pistachios across the flatbread.
Finish it all off with a drizzle of balsamic and generous salt and black pepper, then serve immediately.