Organic September + Turkish Frying Pan Flatbreads with Spoon Salad
If we go back a bit, organic isn’t something that’s posh, or different, it’s just appreciating fruit and vegetables with as little messing around as possible. Often it is made to seem like a fashionable or aspirational thing but actually it is where food started off. Fruit and vegetables that are as wonky, delicious and colourful as they are meant to be.
I don’t eat exclusively organic, it not realistic for me as I often pop to the local corner shop for dinner but I do try and make sure that all the dairy I eat is organic and buy organic fruit and veg when I have the choice.
Organic September is a month of celebrating all things organic – from the simple recipes that make eating well easy and delicious, to the farmers who grow our amazing produce. Even if you can only afford to buy one organic product this month, you will be making a difference.
I am a believer in the idea that every one of us holds a huge amount of power in the buying decisions that we make every day. By choosing organic we can do our bit to help support the environment, our bodies, our wildlife and the welfare of animals. For me, eating should be joyful, and good organic ingredients are at the heart of this joy.
TURKISH FRYING PAN FLATBREADS WITH SPOON SALAD
The part of east London I live in is full of Turkish cafés. They turn out charcoal-baked flatbreads and insanely good salads, and although meat is front and centre in Turkish food, there are some amazing vegetable dishes too. Here is a quick way to make my two favourites at home. Amazing, fluffy, quick Turkish flatbreads from the frying pan, topped with caramel onions and smoky red peppers, and my favourite ever salad – sometimes called ezme salad, but I prefer its other name: spoon salad. I use Turkish chilli here, which has a milder flavour, somewhere between a chilli and a red pepper, but if you can’t get your hands on it you can use regular dried chilli flakes, more sparingly. Similarly, if you can’t get pomegranate molasses a 50:50 mixture of good balsamic and honey will do.
These flatbreads are brilliantly flavour-packed as they are, but sometimes to mix things up I add some crumbled feta on top. If you are in a hurry, this topping can be used to top ready-made pittas or flatbreads, which will save a lot of time.
FOR THE FLATBREADS
200g spelt flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
200g Greek yoghurt, or 150ml warm water
FOR THE TOPPING
2 red onions
3 red peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried Turkish chilli flakes (see introduction)
1 green chilli
a small bunch of fresh mint
FOR THE SALAD
1 red onion
5 ripe vine tomatoes
a small bunch of fresh mint
a small bunch of fresh parsley
1 tablespoon sumac
1 teaspoon harissa or Turkish chilli paste
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
extra virgin olive oil
Get all your ingredients together.
Put all the flatbread ingredients into the bowl of your food processor and pulse until the mixture forms a ball. If you don’t have a food processor, this can be done in a bowl using a fork to begin with, followed by your hands, but it will take a little longer. Dust a clean work surface with flour and tip out the dough. Knead for a minute or so to bring it all together. This is a quick flatbread recipe, so you don’t need to knead it for long. Put the dough into a flour-dusted bowl and cover with a plate. Put to one side to rise a little for 10–15 minutes while you do some other jobs. Don’t expect it to rise like normal dough, but it may puff up a tiny bit.
To make the topping, heat a frying pan on a medium heat, then finely chop your onions and red peppers and put them into the pan with 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, until soft and sweet, then add the dried chilli. Chop the fresh green chilli and mint and add to the pan along with a final tablespoon of oil. Stir, then take off the heat and season well.
Next, make your salad. Finely slice the onion and put into a bowl with the juice of half a lemon and a good pinch of salt. Scrunch with your hands, then leave to pickle. Chop the tomatoes roughly, then roughly chop the leaves of the fresh herbs. Put them into a bowl with the spices and the pomegranate molasses and add the lemon-pickled red onions. Season well with salt and pepper and add a little more lemon juice and a good drizzle of olive oil, balancing out the flavours until it tastes great.
Now back to the flatbreads. Put a large frying pan or griddle pan (about 22–24cm) on a medium heat. Dust a clean work surface and rolling pin with flour, then divide the dough into four equal-sized pieces. Using your hands, pat and flatten out the dough, then use the rolling pin to roll each piece into about a 20cm round, roughly 2–3mm thick. Once your pan is hot, cook each flatbread for 1–2 minutes on each side, until nicely puffed up, turning with tongs. Spread with the onion and chilli mixture while hot, and serve straightaway with spoonfuls of salad.