In my upcoming book, Eat In, Not Out, due for release next Monday, I devote a chapter to re-creating restaurant dishes at home. This is a fun game for me — sometimes I’m able to recreate dishes better than others. I’m always excited to see menus that include ingredients lists, as this improves my batting average significantly.
Such was the case this summer at Tomatina, with several locations in the Bay area. I enjoyed the salmon piadine so much that I made it (probably one too) many times afterwards.
A piadine is defined on their menu as “a unique sandwich on freshly baked original or wheat flatbread and topped with cool salads, ready to fold and eat.” This assumes, of course, that one can make a perfectly proportional flatbread that folds neatly into a sandwich. Since mine rarely, if ever, look that perfect, I eat mine with a knife and fork.
Caprese Piadine — with a chicken twist (Serves 2)
Last week, I re-created the restaurant dish. Though this is a very easy dish to make, there are a lot of steps, many of which must be carried out before the bewitched dinner hour. As such, this is a good choice for weekends or holidays.
The caprese piadine ingredients, as listed on the menu, are
- hearts of Romaine
- fresh mozzarella
- oven-dried tomatoes
- balsamic vinaigrette
- and parmesan.
Start out by marinating chicken in olive oil, fresh lemon juice, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper for about 4-6 hours. By combining everything in a plastic bag, you save time cleaning up. It doesn’t look pretty, but works wonders on flavoring chicken. (Note: If you are a vegetarian or prefer a meatless meal, you can leave out this step altogether.)
A few hours before dinner, I make the flatbread dough. I typically use any ole’ pizza dough recipe, but you could also purchase dough from a local pizza joint or grocer if you don’t have time to make it yourself.
Another thing I do in advance is roast tomatoes. If it’s the middle of summer, fresh, chopped tomatoes are more than adequate. But in winter, I prefer roasted cherry tomatoes. To make, simply chop the tomatoes in half and add salt, pepper and olive oil to taste. Then roast them for about 15 minutes @ 425 degrees to boost their flavor.
When dinner time is about to arrive, grill the chicken — about 10 minutes on each side on medium-high heat. You can do this ahead if you wish, as the chicken doesn’t have to be served hot. I slice it before placing atop the piadine.
While the chicken is cooking, I prepare the greens and flatbread.
For the greens, start with about 4 cups shredded romaine hearts or any other mixed greens you might have on hand. Add the roasted tomatoes (or more if you like tomatoes as much as I do), about 1 cup chopped, fresh mozzarella cheese (again, adjust according to taste and preferred caloric intake), and about 1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese.
For the vinaigrette, combine 4 TBSP of olive oil with 2 TBSP of balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.
Combine the vinaigrette with the salad mixture according to your taste.
To prepare the flatbread, divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces (or even 4 if you want to save the extras and/or make smaller ones) and roll out. Place the flattened dough onto an oiled skillet and cook about 2 minutes on each side on medium heat. I like to add a little salt, pepper and olive oil as I cook. (These are so yummy to eat by themselves, too.)
To compile the dish, first spread pesto on the flatbread. I make pesto homemade in the summer when the basil supply is plentiful, but resort to the Costco special in the winter (it’s very tasty!). You can even reduce the “strength” of the pesto with a little extra olive oil.
Next, add the lettuce mixture.
Then the chicken mixture on top.
Wala! A tasty and healthy treat!