I am back with a traditional recipe from one of the small Cycladic islands, Kimolos, for a delicious Greek flatbread made with tomatoes and onions. It is called “ladenia” in Greek, (la-the’-nya), and it is sold in every little island bakery year ’round. This is the kind of food Greeks would have as a snack, or, pack to bring to the beach along with some fresh fruit.
This flatbread is soft and airy and it is typically baked in a pan with high sides to contain the copious amounts of olive oil the recipe calls for. The topping is a well-seasoned combination of juicy, home-grown tomatoes, slivers of sweet onions, a generous amount of dried Greek oregano and, of course, more olive oil. It is in many ways, very similar to the Italian focaccia.
There are variations to this recipe, which include capers and sometimes peppers. I like to stick with the original however, which is simplicity at its best. A recipe as basic as this depends on good quality ingredients, so, using good, extra-virgin olive oil and flavorful, ripe tomatoes is really a must. I used small heirloom grape tomatoes this time because I love their colors, but any good, ripe, summer tomato will do. I hope you give this recipe a try, as I know that you will love it!
- 1 cup warm water
- 2¼ tsp. dried yeast
- 3 cups AP flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 lb. ripe grape tomatoes cut in half, or regular tomatoes, diced
- 1½ cups, red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 TBSP. olive oil
- 2 tsp. dried Greek oregano
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- --- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, combine the warm water with the yeast. Let it sit for about 6 minutes, or until bubbles are formed.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and the salt. With the motor running, add the yeast mixture and ¼ cup of olive oil. Mix until the dough is nice and smooth, adjusting with more flour or water if necessary. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for one hour.
- Spread 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the bottom of a 10” x 14” glass or ceramic pan, with high sides.
- Punch the dough to deflate it. Stretch it out with your hands, and then place it into the pan. With your fingertips, press the dough down and continue to stretch it until it covers the bottom of the pan. Let it rise again, for half an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- In the meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Use your fingertips to dimple the dough and make little impressions all over it. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes cut in half (or quarters if they are bigger), the sliced onions, the olive oil, the salt, the pepper, and the oregano. Spread the mixture evenly over the dough. Just before baking, drizzle a little extra olive oil over the top.
- Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, or until the sides are lightly brown and the dough is cooked through. Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. Cut into pieces and serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.
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