Hiding from the heat and eating flatbread

Zürich is having its second heatwave of the summer and it’s making me more than a little aggravated. I am not a fan of hot weather. (That’s an understatement!)

Weather in Zurich: Wed 8:20, sunny and 24.6°C
Almost 25°C before 8:30 in the morning!

Thankfully, this round of high temperatures isn’t quite as extreme as the +40°C days and 22°C nights we had back in June. And most of Europe is seeing the mercury climb, so I can take comfort in the fact that I’m not suffering alone—but I’ve still become somewhat obsessive about keeping our flat cool.

In addition to blocking out the sun’s rays and keeping the windows closed to prevent the hot exterior air from seeping in (vampires would probably feel right at home in our nearly permanently-darkened flat), I’m also completely opposed to turning on the oven or having anything bubling away on the stove. That makes cooking a little more of a challenge.

Bring on the grill! Lighting up the barbecue avoids raising the kitchen temperature, although standing on the patio can get a bit toasty, and produces a lot of yumminess without a lot of fuss. The summer weather has also pushed me towards to crisp greens, fresh herbs and bright citrus flavours. And, of course, ice cream, which isn’t part of this recipe, but I do have a post about making ice cream cake.

Grilled flatbread with arugula

This recipe is quick, easy and highly customisable. The one we made last night featured basil and prosciutto, but I’ve also done it meat-free with mushed up peas and mint. And you could use just about any topping you’d like, as long as they’re not too moist—soggy flatbread is no fun.

Ingredients

Grilled flatbread topped with arugula, red onion, basil and prosciutto
  • A small roll of pre-made pizza dough (ideally, get a variety that’s not round as it’s easier to cut into nice-sized pieces)
  • 150g creme fraîche (mascarpone or ricotta also work)
  • Zest from 1 lemon and half of its juice
  • A handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 150g arugula (a few handfuls), roughly chopped
  • Half a red onion, thinly sliced
  • Six slices of prosciutto, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 10g parmesan (or pecorino or another hard, flavourful cheese), finely grated
  • Sea salt & pepper

A clove of chopped garlic is nice in the sauce, too, and other herbs (oregano, mint, thyme, whatever) would be perfectly lovely mixed in as well.

Method

  • Preheat the grill to medium heat
  • Make the sauce by combining the creme fraîche with the lemon zest and juice and half of the finely chopped basil; season with sea salt & pepper
  • Cut the pre-made pizza dough into easy-to-handle pieces, about the length of your hand from wrist to the tip of your fingers and as wide as your palm
  • Grill the pizza dough pieces for 3-4 minutes per side, checking to make sure there are beautiful golden-brown grill marks on the bottom before flipping
  • Take the flatbread off the grill and spread one side with the creme fraîche mixture, then top with arugula, red onion and prosciutto
  • Garnish with the extra basil and parmesan cheese, then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Serve warm while the flatbread is still crispy