Why this recipe works Coques are the Catalan version of the thin and crunchy flatbreads that can be found in any tapas bar along the Mediterranean. Some are sweet, featuring a topping of candied fruits and pine nuts. But we set our sights on an intensely savory version topped with bold Spanish flavors. To get the perfect crust for our coques, we started with our thin-crust pizza dough since it produced a thin, flavorful crust that’s appropriate for this dish. But to set our coca crust apart from pizza and get an extra-crisp base, we increased the amount of oil in the dough from 1 to 3 tablespoons and switched to fruity olive oil, as well as brushed each coca with oil before baking. These olive oil applications helped both the bottom and the top crisp up and imparted an earthy flavor to the dough. We found that parbaking the dough before topping it helped eliminate a soggy crust and created the sturdy base we were looking for—this crust shouldn’t bend like a New York slice. For our well-balanced savory topping, we turned to sweet onions and rich roasted red peppers. And to introduce depth, balanced heat, and rounded acidity, we added garlic, a generous amount of red pepper flakes, and sherry vinegar to the mix. We cooked the topping before spreading it over the parbaked dough to cut our baking time in half and intensify the flavors. Stirring in the vinegar at the end of cooking gave the topping the vibrant kick that we wanted for these savory coques. If you cannot fit two coques on a single baking sheet, bake them in 2 batches.
- serves 6 to 8
- resting time 1 hour 10 minutes
- rising time 24 hours
- baking time 21 minutes
- total time 27 hours
- key equipment 12-inch nonstick skillet, 2 rimmed baking sheets, rolling pin, pastry brush
- 3 cups (16½ ounces) bread flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 1⅓ cups (10⅔ ounces) ice water
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, halved and sliced thin
- 2 cups jarred roasted red peppers, patted dry, and sliced thin
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- ¼ cup pine nuts (optional)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1). For the dough Pulse flour, sugar, and yeast in food processor until combined, about 5 pulses. With processor running, slowly add ice water and process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
2). Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of bowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days.
3). For the topping Heat 3 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in onions, red peppers, sugar, garlic, salt, pepper flakes, and bay leaves. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and have released their juice, about 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue to cook, stirring often, until onions are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Off heat, discard bay leaves. Transfer onion mixture to bowl, stir in vinegar, and let cool completely before using.
4). Press down on dough to deflate. Transfer dough to clean counter, divide into quarters, and cover loosely with greased plastic. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keep remaining pieces covered), form into rough ball by stretching dough around your thumbs and pinching edges together so that top is smooth.
5). Place ball seam side down on counter and, using your cupped hand, drag in small circles until dough feels taut and round. Space dough balls 3 inches apart, cover loosely with greased plastic, and let rest for 1 hour.
6). Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 500 degrees. Coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with 2 tablespoons oil each. Generously coat 1 dough ball with flour and place on well-floured counter. Press and roll into 14 by 5-inch oval. Arrange oval on prepared sheet, with long edge fit snugly against 1 long side of sheet, and reshape as needed. (If dough resists stretching, let it relax for 10 to 20 minutes before trying to stretch it again.) Repeat with remaining dough balls, arranging 2 ovals on each sheet, spaced ½ inch apart. Using fork, poke surface of dough 10 to 15 times.
7). Brush dough ovals with remaining oil and bake until puffed, 6 to 8 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.
8). Scatter onion mixture evenly over flatbreads, from edge to edge, then sprinkle with pine nuts, if using. Bake until topping is heated through and edges of flatbreads are deep golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let flatbreads cool on sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to cutting board using metal spatula. Sprinkle with parsley, slice, and serve.
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