Friday, January 3, 2014

Flat Bread with Caramelized Balsamic Onions and Whipped Gorgonzola

Flat Bread with Caramelized Balsamic Onions and Whipped Gorgonzola

This amazing appetizer was inspired by one we enjoyed at Trio, in Salt Lake City.  You can make a homemade flat bread OR you can buy some at a favorite bakery.  I like to roast the onions, garlic and tomatoes ahead of time, in the morning if necessary, to keep last minute preparations to a minimum.  The whipped Gorgonzola can be prepared ahead of time as well.  Purchasing your flat bread will definitely cut back on prep time too.  The roasted garlic adds a flavor extravaganza to the flat bread.  And Gorgonzola and the balsamic onions are always a delicious hit.  This is one of my husbands favorite appetizers especially with the roasted garlic, (and mine too!)  This makes a great light dinner when served with a salad, you could add a nice bowl of soup too.  Feel free to add all or some of these toppings to your flat bread depending on your mood or guest list!  You can serve a solid chunk of Gorgonzola cheese on the platter, instead of whipping the Gorgonzola,  yet another time saver!   

Caramelized Onions:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  On a large rimmed baking sheet melt butter and olive oil in preheating oven.  Toss onions and garlic in melted butter and oil.  Season onions and garlic with some salt, pepper and brown sugar and toss.   Roast for 25-30 minutes, tossing a few times throughout.  Toss onion mixture with a little Balsamic Syrup, until onions are lightly coated.  Roast 5 more minutes.  Spoon onions and juices onto platter with flat bread.

Balsamic Syrup:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Combine vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.  Or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Drizzle over platter of flat bread just before serving.

Whipped Gorgonzola:
1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese crumbled
1 tablespoon milk or more if needed

Whip Gorgonzola and milk in food processor until creamy.  Place on plate with flat bread. 

Roasted Garlic:
1-2 heads garlic
olive oil 
salt and pepper
a little butter

Cut top 1/4 off head of garlic.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Add a dash of butter and wrap each head of garlic in foil.  Place cut side up on baking sheet or small roasting pan and roast at 300 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove form oven and check clove of garlic for doneness by piercing with a knife.  If cloves are soft garlic is done.  Roast 10-15 more minutes or until garlic is soft.  Place head of garlic next to flat bread. 

Roasted Tomatoes:
1-2 cups cherry, plum or Roma tomatoes halved
drizzle of olive oil 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Toss tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme on a baking sheet.  Roast at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until soft.  Spoon tomatoes and juices onto plate with flat bread to serve. 

Homemade Flat Bread:

1/4 cup warm water
1 1/4 teaspoon yeast
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 1/2-4 cups all-purpose flour
fresh herbs mix, chopped, if desired

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Stir in milk, 1/2 cup room temperature water, oil and salt.  Add 1 cup flour and whisk unitil smooth.  Add remaining flour 1/2 cupat a time. and incorporate with hands until dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto well floured surface and knead for 8 minutes adding more flour as needed.  Lightly oil mixing bowl and return dough to that bowl.  Turn dough over in bowl to oil the top of the dough.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 90 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees or heat grill.  Divide dough equally and press with oiled hands into a 10-12 inch circles.  Place dough on oiled baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap sprayed with bakers spray and rise again for 30 minutes.  If grilling, lightly oil both sides of dough with olive oil and place on hot grill. Grill flat bread until golden brown about 2 minutes per side.  Remove form grill and sprinkle with coarse salt and fresh herbs.  To bake flat bread, bake at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes, spray with water a few times during the first 10 minutes to create a crisp crust.  Cut flat bread with a pizza cutter into wedges.

Assemble wedges of flat bread on a serving platter or large plate.  Arrange caramelized balsamic onions, creamy Gorgonzola and roasted tomatoes and head roasted garlic at the points of the flat bread wedges.  Garnish with some fresh herbs and drizzle flat bread with some remaining Balsamic Syrup. Add a mini knife or two for people to spread the whipped Gorgonzola with and to scoop out a clove of roasted garlic with a small knife and spread on flat bread. Top with caramelized balsamic onions and roasted tomatoes. Ohh, I can taste the excellent flavors already!

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