Fig and Brie Crisp Bread
I am still on a bit of a roll with pizza on the grill and this crisp bread is just another form of pizza shaped into a rectangle and cut crosswise to serve with a glass of vino. This crisp bread ended up on the boat and enjoyed on a sunset sail (minus the wine, we don’t drink and sail:) on the beautiful Okanagan lake. It was just the two of us on the boat so there was room to stretch out and it was peaceful enough to read. I was reading the incomparable Alain de Botton’s book “Status Anxiety”. What an insightful writer. The anxiety is about what others think of us, anxiety over how we measure compare to our peers. It’s comforting to know that given the enormous inequalities that we are faced with daily, we manage not to be envious of everyone. Apparently there are people whose enormous blessings leave us untroubled. We only envy those who we believe are like us. Translated, it means that we do not envy the Kennedys or Rothschilds, the great disproportion cuts off the relationship, but perhaps comparing ourselves to our classmate who made it big in his or her field make us feel less satisfied with what we ourselves have achieved. I have always appreciated how writers can put an idea into a sentence. That’s what I love about reading. I almost fell into the water laughing over this phrase: “There are few successes more unendurable than those of our ostensible equals”. I wish I could write like that. He says that the more people we compare ourselves to, the more there will be for us to envy. Interesting topic to explore and I look forward to reading further into the book. What do you think about it?
On to the business of cooking: I had these wonderfully ripe figs that survived my fridge raid over the last few days. They got really ripe and honeyed and needed to be used now. I thought they would make a lovely topping for the crisp bread, and they did. My original intention was to pair them with a good blue cheese but alas, no blue cheese in my fridge today. So they had to be paired with a few pieces of triple creme Brie that I found wrapped in parchment in the cheese compartment of my fridge. It made a rich tasting crisp bread and a delicious one, oh yes.
I still had some of the dough from Valoroso in the fridge and first thing this morning I took it out, rubbed a little olive oil over and placed it in a small bowl to rise peacefully while I went about my day. In the afternoon the dough has warmed up and rose nicely. The two finger test left slight indentations in the dough indicating it has risen sufficiently.
I sprinkled the counter with a dusting of flour and turned the dough over onto the counter. At this point I try to handle the dough very little. I rolled and stretched it gently into a long rectangle and brushed it with additional olive oil, being sure to oil the edges as well. The grill was already heating up and was at high when I showed up with the dough. It was a little tricky working with such a long piece of soft dough but I managed and placed it on the oiled grates of the very hot outdoor grill. Within a minute it started to puff and bubble just the way I like it. Partially cooked it was easier to handle and once I was satisfied that the bottom was cooked to grill marks I removed it grilled side up to a wooden board and topped it with the figs and brie. I then quickly returned it to the grill and finished the cooking (grilling) that only took about 2-3 minutes more.
My friend and foodie blogger Valerie (more than burnt toast) commented on the previous pizza recipe to say that grilling pizza is almost as good as baking it in a wood burning oven. I tend to agree, the high heat and occasional flare (caused by drips) gives the pizza a nice crisp bubbly crust that only very high temperature can achieve. On my wish list is a wood burning pizza oven that is free standing and gorgeous. Mode Concrete sells them. Check out the Italian Alfa Wood burning pizza Oven Ciao and Allegro models. Stunning.
Fig jam (purchase in a jar from any deli)
4 Beautiful ripe fresh figs
Triple or double crème Brie
Fresh thyme springs (not dried thyme)
If you make you own pizza dough follow these directions here.
Use as much of the dough as you need, keeping the rest in the fridge for another day. It will hold refrigerated, or you can freeze it.
If you purchased the dough let it rise until double in size and then punch it down and roll into one or two long rectangles, about 4 inch wide.
Brush oil over the dough with a brush or clean hands. Make sure that the sides also get oiled.
Leave them on a baking sheet for a few minutes to relax after you stretched them.
Heat up the grill to high and brush a little oil over the grates with a long handled brush being very careful as any drips may cause flames to flare up.
Cut the figs into slices, cut the cheese into little chunks.
When ready to proceed carefully lay the long piece of dough onto the grill and close the cover. This may be a little tricky at first but don’t worry, even if the dough is not perfectly rectangular it will still be attractive and delicious. I usually cover the grill but it depends on how curious I am that day. Sometimes I like to look at it as it grills and puffs up.
Let the dough cook for about 3 minutes until it is grill marked on the bottom and puffs up with a few bubbles here and there.
Remove the dough from the grill using tongs and place it grilled side up on a board. This will be the side that gets the topping.
Spread a little fig jam over the crisp bread, lay the fig slices along the length and scatter the pieces of Brie between the figs.
Now the crisp bread is easier to handle and you can slide it back onto the grill fairly easily. still, the heat is high so be careful.
Grill the crisp bread for another 4-5 minutes until the cheese melts and the crust is golden and puffy.
Remove from the grill and let rest a little before slicing into rectangular slices. sprinkle thyme leaves over.