When Persian cook Mahin Gilanpour Motamed makes her addictive Persian flatbread, she uses store-bought pizza dough to save time. The trick is pulling and stretching the dough so it forms the classic oblong shape, then pressing deep ridges into it before brushing with yogurt and topping with the tasty mix of seeds and salt.
At his L.A. spot, Josef Centeno has done what few chefs do: developed a new kind of sandwich bread. Called the bäco, it’s a very supple flatbread. But his creative fillings, like the fried shrimp here with cardamom-chile sauce and herbed crema, are sensational on any kind of flatbread, or even rolled inside flour tortillas.
American farmers harvest more than a million acres of potatoes each year, making it the country's top vegetable crop. Both the sweet and white kinds appear along with olives and feta on the flatbread here, which is baked until the edges of the potatoes crisp and the cheese starts to melt.
Rosemary Flatbread with Blue Cheese, Grapes and Honey
"It's a tradition for winemakers to bake bread with grapes to celebrate the harvest," says David Page. Each fall, he uses his wood-burning oven to make this crusty flatbread studded with creamy crumbled blue cheese and sweet table grapes.
Ana Sortun sprinkles house-made flatbreads with za'atar, the Middle Eastern blend of sesame seeds, herbs and sumac. She serves it with a salad of spinach, peas, cucumbers and lettuce, mixed with yogurt-like Lebanese lebneh.
Prosciutto-Cheese Piadina and Butternut Squash-Pecorino Piad
For Urbino's signature dish, chef and co-owner Nate Appleman chose piadina, the excellent flatbread sandwiches that he describes as "Italian quesadillas." On his custom stone griddle, the first one in America, Appleman cooks the flaky dough until it's just crisp outside, then stuffs it with sumptuous combinations like tender roasted squash with pancetta, or prosciutto with stracchino cheese and peppery arugula.
Chris Hanna learned to make these airy pitas from her Syrian grandmother, and she still insists on baking them from scratch when serving shwarma. "It isn't that hard to make your own, and the flavor and texture are far superior to the flaccid, sweet kind you find in most grocery stores," she says. Eat the first ones out of the oven slathered with butter, the way Hanna did as a kid.
Chris Ainsworth makes all kinds of seasonal dessert flatbreads at his restaurant, but his s'mores version is a year-round favorite. While baking the flatbreads in the oven is easier, they're also delicious grilled; just be sure to set the dough away from direct heat so the bottom doesn't burn before the toppings melt.