Thursday, May 8, 2008

Coca amb pebres

Cocas are crispy, yummy flat breads native to the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. They can be traced back to the middle ages. This yeast based dough can either be wafer thin or thick and doughy. The rich topping varies by region and personal taste. At Azucar! we serve it with a sweet garlic oil, shredded Garottxa and Mahon cheeses. Then, grilled artichoke hearts are layered over the cheeses and topped off with cherry tomatoes. It then gets a fresh arugula garnish when its plated. The first time we prepared this, Chef Matt and I, we had no idea how the dough would turn out. The recipe is very simple and easy to make. At first, it seems a bit dry. Eventually it comes together to form a spongy dough. Traditionally, its rolled out and then topped off with the fillings.We adapted the recipe in order to successfully prepare it on the line in the restaurant. The dough is first par baked and then pre-portioned. Its prepared to order and this results in a much crispier flat bread. Some dare to compare it to pizza. I believe a flat bread is a flat bread. So remember to always brush it with a sweet garlic oil sauce and never ever tomato sauce!

Coca yeast dough base:

20g dry active yeasta

pinch of sugar

4 1/2 cups of flour

1 tsp of salt

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp white wine/ 1 oz

flour for dusting work surface

add the dry yeast to a mixing bowl and add in a Little lukewarm water and a pinch of sugar.let sit for a few minutes. then add in the 4 1/2 cups of flour, the olive oil and white wine. using the dough hook attachment, begin to mix the ingredients together. slowly add one cup of warm water while mixing to bring the dough together. add the salt and allow to mix until it all comes together into a ball. turn off mixer and let sit in a warm place until it doubles in volume. then, on a floured surface roll out to a thin rectangle, trimming off the edges. bake in a sheet pan lined with parchment paper in a 390 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until the dough is par baked (touch the surface of the bread to make sure its hardened and resembles pizza crust, however it should be a light color) pull out of oven and let cool. Brush the top with a garlic oil, dust with some rosemary and thyme. layer your favorite toppings on top and bake in the oven until its crispy and a golden color. its best to bake it right on the rack to get a crispier crust.

I used a traditional topping of roasted bell peppers and caramelized onions, Coca amb pebres in Catalan.
By far my favorite flat bread recipe. Authentic Spanish cuisine. Enjoy with a sweet Amontillado sherry.