Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Skillet Bread

Mediterranean Skillet Bread

A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is a treasured piece of kitchenware. Today our small 8-inch cast iron skillet was put to good use baking this sturdy, flavorful Mediterranean Skillet Bread. Although perfect as an accompaniment to soups and salads, the Cooking School staff decided to slice it horizontally and use it for sandwiches - both hot and cold. If you are not a fan of olives, you can omit them from the recipe. Don't be afraid to experiment with other add-ins like chopped sun-dried tomatoes and bacon. You'll love the aroma wafting from the oven as this easy quick bread bakes. It will take some self-discipline, but leave the bread alone until it cools completely before assembling a sandwich. Your reward will be a firmer loaf that is easier to slice.


Preheat oven to 450°. Position oven rack in lower-middle position. In a separate bowl, combine milk, sour cream and egg together, whisking until smooth. Heat the oil in a 8-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour all but 2 teaspoons of oil mixture into milk mixture, whisking to incorporate.


Whisk flour, basil, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold milk mixture into flour mixture, just until combined.



Fold in olives; do not overmix. 



The batter at this point will be thick.



Quickly scrape it into hot skillet and smooth top. 


Sprinkle the top with remaining cheese.



Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.



Let bread cool slightly in skillet before removing. An 8-inch Lodge skillet is perfect for this application. The Gourmet Galeria has a full selection of cast iron products from Lodge.



Run a knife around the edge of the skillet to release the bread, Remove and cool  on a rack. The bread will be good served warm or at room temperature depending on the use.


Our sandwich was composed with Boar's Head's rosemary ham, heirloom tomatoes, Dijon mustard and then slices of Boar's Head  manchego cheese. The sandwich in the center was served cold. The sandwich on the right was browned in the cast iron skillet on the stove top and then popped in a 350 degree oven until the cheese was melted. Both delicious!


Mediterranean Skillet Olive Bread

1 cup all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup lightly packed
 coarsely shredded Parmesan cheese
½ cup whole milk
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped


Preheat oven to 450°. Position oven rack in lower-middle position.
.
Whisk flour, basil, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup of cheese and toss to coat with flour.
 
In a separate bowl, combine milk, sour cream and egg together, whisking until smooth.
 
Heat oil in a 8-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour all but 2 teaspoons of oil mixture into milk mixture, whisking to incorporate.
 
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold milk mixture into flour mixture, just until combined. Fold in olives; do not overmix. Batter at this point will be thick. Quickly scrape it into hot skillet and smooth top. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese.

Transfer pan to oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of bread comes out clean. Let bread cool slightly in skillet before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Serves 4

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