Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Antipasto Flatbread on the Big Green Egg

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Alexis and I have been on an antipasto flatbread binge this year. This delicious and easy-to-make flatbread is loaded with artichoke hearts, olives, red onion, roasted red pepper, sliced pepperoncini, grilled chicken, a light amount of cheese, and a sun-dried tomato pesto for the sauce.

Antipasto flatbread pizza on the Big Green Egg

I was inspired by the December issue of Eating Well's Antipasto Sliders.  They were a vegetarian spin on those ham and cheese sliders that you make with pull-apart rolls. We made them as written and they were good but I couldn't help but think they'd be even better with a sun-dried tomato pesto so we made another version of them. The sliders are an excellent idea for heavy hors d'oeuvres.

Antipasto sliders cooked on the Big Green Egg kamado grill
This time we did the sun-dried tomato pesto, added ham, olives, and a few more things.

Antipasto sliders cooked on the Big Green Egg grill
Brushed with oil, seasoned with herbs and put in the Big Green Egg indirect at 350f for about 10-15 minutes until heated through.

These were fantastic, I'd definitely make them this way again. 

As good as the sliders were, I couldn't help but think the ingredients would make an amazing flatbread. Turns out I was right. Imagine that. (ha ha).  

A note about the term "flatbread". Technically it means a crust made without yeast but here I'm using the term for thin premade crusts because they don't really deserve to be called pizza crusts. But they are thin and crisp.

Marinating chicken in Italian dressing is a quick and time-tested trick.
I wanted grilled chicken on the flatbread so I put some chicken tenders in a ziptop bag and some Ken's Steakhouse Zesty Italian Dressing for about 8 hours. 

How to remove the tendon from chicken tenderloins
Chicken tenders have a tendon running through the middle of them but they are easy enough to remove. Look for the white tab of the tendon sticking out, firmly grab it, hold the tender still with a fork and give the tendon a steady pull. It should come right out of the meat like this.

How to grill chicken tenderloins on the Big Green Egg kamado grill
Then I grilled them direct on the Big Green Egg at 400°f for about 4 minutes a side, until they were an internal temp of 160°f.

Try using sun-dried tomato pesto to jazz up your pizza sauce.
Next, I made a cheese sauce. I melted 2 tablespoons of butter, whisked in 2 tablespoons of flour, and then whisked in 1/2 cup of half and half. Next, I whisked in some Monterey Jack cheese until it melted.  Then I stirred in about 4 ounces of sun-dried tomato pesto. (see my note later about the cheese sauce)

Mise en place on the Big Green Egg in a Challenger Designs Torch grill cart.
I set a Big Green Egg up for indirect heat at 400°f with a cast-iron platesetter "legs up", a standard grate, and a Big Green Egg pizza stone

You have to be careful cooking prebaked crusts on an Egg. When I cook a pizza with homemade dough, I'm running hot and preheating the stone for a good 15 minutes. But the flatbread or prebaked crust only needs 2-3 minutes to cook, so I make sure all of my ingredients are able to cook quickly and I only preheat my stone for a few minutes.These don't come close to homemade pizza dough, but they work in a pinch.

I spread out the sun-dried tomato pesto cheese sauce...

Making antipasto flatbread on a big green egg kamado grill
I topped the cheese sauce with grilled chicken, olives, artichoke hearts, roasted red bell pepper, and sliced pepperocini.

Making flatbread on the Big Green Egg
Finally, Alexis topped that off with some shredded Monterey jack cheese.

Antipasto flatbread sliding into your DM....errr....Big Green Egg
Onto the pizza stone, it goes...

Antipasto flatbread cooking on a Big Green Egg kamado grill
Everything is already cooked, so all we're doing here is waiting for the cheese to melt.

Pizza deliciousness on the Big Green Egg
It smelled so amazing as it finished up it's extremely long cooking time of...[checks notes]...three minutes, that's it.

Antipasto flatbread is a great appetizer or it can be a whole meal.
Ready to come off. This is excellent for an appetizer or you can make it into a meal.

Antipasto flatbread pizza from the Big Green Egg kamado grill
We were so ready to devour this as soon as it finished.

The nice thing about flatbreads are the crust is so thin that they aren't very filling.

We like using Filippo Berio Sun Dried Tomato Pesto.
The red pesto cheese sauce was delicious but on subsequent flatbreads, I found that using just the pesto itself tasted amazing and left out the calories of a cheese sauce, so that's what we use now. We have been using Filippo Berio Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto [Amazon Affiliate link] that we buy at Food City and I'm a big fan but this brand's red pesto but there are other brands such as Stonewall Kitchens, Barilla, and California Sun Dry.

Using sun-dried tomato pesto as pizza sauce is splendid, now I just need to come up with my own recipe for it.

Making flatbreads on the kamado grill
The star of this particular flatbread that we did was sun-dried tomato cheese curds from local Sweetwater Valley Farm. Those curds were incredible! 

Once we have it all assembled, I like to hit it with a little salt, a little granulated garlic, and a hefty amount of black pepper for a kick. Probably 1/4 teaspoon for the salt and garlic and a half teaspoon on the pepper. I don't usually measure, I just go for coverage.

Ready to head out to the grill.

Antipasto Flatbread from the Big Green Egg grill
Another fantastic flatbread.

We don't measure quantities and we don't use a recipe per se. But they always turn out to be a winner.