Schatzi: Normally, I’m not a fan of zucchini. I’ll eat it deep-fried (what won’t I eat deep-fried?), or in sauces or stews where the taste and texture are obscured by others, but zucchini have always seemed to me to be a lesser sort of vegetable, like a beloved cucumber gone terribly, terribly awry. It’s unfortunate for me then, that zucchini is such a quintessentially summer vegetable. I do love both onions and cheese, however, so when my elder sister finally returned my August 2006 copy of Bon Appetit, and I came across their Cheesy Zucchini and Red Onion Flatbread recipe, it seemed like a perfect appetizer for my upcoming housewarming game night—and it was. This tart/flatbread/pissaladiere (I go with the latter because the chevre gives it the umami that a traditional pissaladiere gets from anchovies) is going to make regular appearances in my kitchen this summer–and forever after–because it was seriously nom-able.
I made a few changes (improvements!) to their recipe both out of necessity and based on my personal preferences. Alouette sucks, and though it was suggested, I just picked up some chèvre and stretched it with a little cream cheese. If you’re going to use a cheese spread, I recommend the eminently superior Boursin. If there had been any at WinCo, that’s what I would have bought. Also, tubes of refrigerated pizza dough (such as Pillsbury), like that suggested by Bon Appetit, in a word, suck. They always have a nasty biscuit taste to them, so I just got some real pizza dough. Trader Joe’s and WinCo both have decent ones, or it’s very simple to make one’s own. And if like me, you’re out of parchment paper, brown paper bags make a great substitute (just try not to use the inked parts). If you get plain chèvre, just season the cheeses with fresh or dried herbs to taste; I used fines herbes with a little rosemary (because I like it).
nonstick olive or vegetable oil spray
1 package refrigerated pizza dough
1 4- or 6-oz package herbed chèvre
2 oz cream cheese
3/4 cp finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
3 T chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
1 small red onion, halved and sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 7- to 8-inch-long zucchini, sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray, then sprinkle with cornmeal.
- Mash the chèvre and cream cheeses into one another, adding fresh ground black pepper and herbs to taste if using plain cheese.
- Unroll dough onto parchment. Spread half of herbed cheese over 1 long half of dough, leaving ½ -inch plain border. Sprinkle with half the Parmesan and 2 tablespoons parsley. Then fold plain half of dough over filled half, but do not seal the edges. Spread remaining herbed cheese over the top and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
- Arrange onion rounds in a row down the center of the long side of dough. Arrange a row of zucchini on either side of the onion. Lightly sprinkle or brush vegetables with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and fresh pepper.
- Bake until puffed and deep brown at edges, about 24 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley before serving.
Cheerfully thieved and adapted slightly from Bon Appetit, August 2006.