Discovering the Foods of the Twin Cities: Margherita Flatbread

I’m writing this from Minnesota. It’s a beautiful day, not too hot, plenty of sun, and a mere rustle of a breeze.

I love St. Paul.  It’s a very ethnic town, much more so than across the river in Minneapolis. There is a Hmong neighborhood here, a German there, and an Italian over there.

I went to school at The University of Minnesota.  Not far away was a row of ethnic restaurants where you could sample Somalian food or Caribbean.

Now when we visit, we hop from bakery to bakery and then look for an interesting place to have lunch.

The find thus far is a Margherita Flatbread, a thin, almost-crisp crust with fresh basil, tomato slices, and a mixture of feta and parmesan cheeses.  It was very good.

“This is very much like our summer pizzas,” I told Merri Ann, my bride.  Our summer pizzas are made on thin, crisp crusts.  We load ours sparsely; theirs was even sparser.  They supplemented the toppings with a spice blend and salt.  The recipe below is very close and very good.  Use that as a starting point to make margherita flatbread. You’re going to love flatbread pizzas!

Tomato, Parmesan, and Basil Summer Pizza

The secret to a great tomato pizza is not to overcook the tomatoes.Flatbread

Make a thin crust, then load the pizza with tomatoes, spices, and cheese, and bake it just long enough to melt the cheese.  Instead of a tomato base of marinara sauce, we used the French onion dip and liked it very much.

This was a favorite among our employees.

Ingredients

1 thin pizza crust mix, mixed according to directions (makes two 14-inch thin crust pizzas)
5 Tablespoons French onion dip
1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
5 medium-sized red and yellow tomatoes
2 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves snipped into pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/8 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
2 teaspoons virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

  1. Form the pizza crust in the pan with a pizza roller.
  2. Spread the onion dip on the crust. Sprinkle the oregano evenly over the onion dip.  Cut the tomatoes into quarter-inch thick slices. Lay them on paper towels as you cut them to soak up part of the juice.
  3. Layer the tomatoes on the crust. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle the freshly cut basil over the tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil.  Spread the parmesan cheese over the tomato slices.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Serve hot.

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