No recipe here.
Just the patience to wait a whole day as the massive tomatoes sat unclaimed on the table in our staff room.
Those babies would not go to waste. I owed it to them. I pounced.
On most cool wet Friday afternoons, I’m more than willing to camp out in the living room with fresh Italian roast and a treat [most recently, thanks to my wife, Yotam Ottolenghi’s Semolina Lemon Syrup Cakes].
But these tomatoes called for quick action.
Standard ingredients in the salsa on the right…onion, garlic, chili powder, pepper, salt, cilantro, cider vinegar, sugar. I left out jalapenos.
The salsa on the left called for experimentation. I added sumac, a favored spice in Middle Eastern/Turkish dishes, for a lemony touch, a tablespoon of sweetened black vinegar to join the usual apple cider vinegar, and some smoked salt.
I can’t deliver a fair verdict on the flavors until I’ve let the ingredients meld, but once again, when the culinary gods call, my writing takes a back seat.
Continuing my flatbread kick…
My Yugoslavian friend mentioned this Serbian version called lepinja and I was intrigued.
The varied recipes online all called for three separate rises, so I did follow that instruction.
What didn’t I do? I probably didn’t flatten out the dough enough, but hey, the ingredients were mixed in the correct ratios, so I just adjusted the baking time. Result: a tender consistency. Is that the way it’s supposed to come out? I liked it too much to care.
I do agree with one baker’s suggestion to raise the oven temp as high as possible.
And I will now ask traditionalists to avert their eyes as I admit to kneading some of my homemade pesto into one of the loaves.
Here is the recipe I followed…
Yes, that ‘M’ belongs there.
Depending on the web page you summon, it’s pronounced, _____
Algerian flatbread. Moroccan pancake. Take your pick.
Here is one way to pronounce msmmen.
Here’s the recipe from https://www.breadexperience.com/msemmen-algerian-flatbread-hbinfive/ .
I have to say–this is goooooood stuff.
- Used whole wheat flour to create the dough.
- Let it sit in the fridge for two days…no make that three.
- Shaped it into a ball [the size of a peach].
- Rolled it out to one-eighth inch thick.
- Evenly spread a paste of olive oil, cumin, salt [just a quarter teaspoon], za’atar, and pepper.
- Rolled it into a log.
- Curled the log into a tight pinwheel.
- Let it rest for 20 minutes.
- Rolled it back out to one-eight inch thickness.
- Slapped it into a medium-high heat, olive oil-coated cast iron skillet. [Feel free to lower the heat to medium.]
- Covered it with a pizza pan to trap the heat and steam–an important step.
- Version two of msemmen? I used Ras El Hanout and sumac for the seasonings in the olive oil paste and folded sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese into the dough.Both versions worked just fine for me. And the leftovers with a little reheat? Yep! And really, so many possibilities for creating your own version of msemmen.
Finally thank you, Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg for this winning recipe. I have two of their books. I recommend them both.
The end of a week.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m retired…for the weekend, at least.
And we aimed for Gathering Together Farm for dinner.
Meanwhile, on the topic of eating and writing, here is a Bon Appetit article, 9 Authors on What They Eat While They Write.