Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Flatbreads Your Way

What makes a flatbread different than a pizza? Traditional flatbread dough doesn’t require yeast, so the prep time is faster than that of the yeasted dough for pizza. My approach takes the best of both worlds by using freshly prepared pizza dough, available at most supermarkets, and shaping it into two thin rectangles—flatbreads are often just a 1/4-inch thick. After a 5-minute pre-bake, it’s up to you to customize the toppings to your liking.

Quick Tips:

Have your dough at room temperature for faster and more even crisping in the oven.

Be sure any raw meat, such as sausage or steak, is fully cooked separately—the time in the oven won’t be enough to cook it thoroughly.

For a simple sauce, use 1/3 cup of crushed San Marzano tomatoes mixed with 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano per flatbread.

Charcuterie board favorites as well as ingredients from your favorite salads, such as Salade Nicoise, Greek Salad, and Turkish Shepherd’s Salad, all taste great on baked flatbreads.


  • 1 pound store-bought pizza dough, white or whole wheat, at room temperature (multiply as needed for additional servings)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Your choice of toppings…


  • Classic Margherita—crushed tomatoes, sea salt, basil, and mozzarella slices
  • New Caprese—pesto, burrata slices, cherry tomato halves, and balsamic vinegar; finish with basil after baking
  • White—ricotta, mozzarella, and fontina; finish with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano after baking
  • Tomato sauce, sautéed sausage chunks, steamed broccoli florets, and smoked mozzarella slices
  • Mushrooms, caramelized onions, and shredded fontina
  • Aioli, sliced steak, gorgonzola, and pine nuts; finish with balsamic vinegar after baking
  • Prosciutto, slices of goat cheese and figs, roasted squash or beet cubes, and hazelnuts
  • Skyr or sour cream, smoked fish, capers, and red onion rings; finish with fresh dill after baking
  • Tiny clams (canned), garlic, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salami or pepperoni slices, cherry tomato halves, quartered artichoke hearts, and dried oregano


Step 1

Note: The dough can be fully baked for 10-15 minutes, if you want to top it with ingredients that don’t need cooking, or pre-baked, as described below, to get it crusty before you layer on fixings such as cheese to be melted. After baking, sprinkle on delicate ingredients that would quickly burn to a crisp in a 450°F or higher oven, such as arugula, cheese shavings, or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar along with more olive oil.

Step 2

Heat your oven (not the broiler) to its highest setting, usually between 450°F and 500°F. Prepare a rimmed sheet pan by coating it with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Step 3

Cut your dough in half and shape into rectangles with your fingers or a rolling pin. Use your knuckles to make a dimple pattern across the dough and gently brush the surface with more oil; sprinkle lightly with the salt. 

Step 4

Bake for about 5-8 minutes or until firm and light brown. Remove from the oven and top as desired. If using one of the above combinations, add everything except any finishing ingredient, in the order given. 

Step 5

Return to the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese has fully melted. Top with any finishes and another drizzle of olive oil, and serve.

Yields 2 servings

Pico de Gallo

I love this Mexican condiment for its bold flavors and easy prep—no machines needed, just a good sharp knife to dice the main ingredients. Besides being a delicious dip for chips and veggies, it’s a great condiment for grilled chicken and fish for your next Taco Tuesday. 


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes or 6 canned Roma tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 jalapeño or other chile pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (leaves and some stems)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground 
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Coarse sea salt 
  • Black Lime


Mince the garlic and set aside. Dice the tomatoes and onion. Wearing gloves to keep the powerful oils off your skin, slice the jalapeño in half lengthwise and use a small spoon to scrape out the ribs and seeds, and then cut it into a small dice. Place the vegetables in a large bowl along with the garlic and cilantro, and toss well. Fold in the cumin and lime juice. Taste, add a few twists of the black peppercorn grinder and a sprinkle of the salt, and taste again, adding more salt and pepper as desired. Let the flavors meld at room temperature for 30 minutes and then refrigerate until serving. Just before serving, top with a sprinkle of black lime.

Yields about 2 cups

Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Two Dipping Sauces

Delicious all year round, this is a crunchy, flavorful vegetarian version of the Asian classic. For a more traditional filling, start with a row of boiled shrimp and sautéed slices of pork belly. When serving, dip the rolls in the vinaigrette first—a great “dressing” for the veggies wrapped inside—then the peanut sauce, for a second jolt of flavor. Rice paper wrappers come dried, so you can store them in your pantry.


For the vinaigrette dipping sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce, such as Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce

For the peanut dipping sauce:

  • 2/3 cup crunchy-style peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili-garlic paste or hot sauce
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Up to 1/3 cup water, as needed

For the summer rolls:

  • Small head of Boston or Bibb lettuce, separated into leaves, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1 large cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 3 large scallions, trimmed and cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup bean sprouts or enoki mushrooms
  • 1 cup each fresh mint leaves, Italian or Thai basil, and cilantro
  • 2 serrano or jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded, and cut into thin rounds
  • 16 round rice paper wrappers, about 9 inches in diameter


Step 1

Prepare the two dipping sauces by whisking their respective ingredients in two small bowls. For the peanut sauce, blend the peanut butter with the olive oil to soften it, then add the rest of the ingredients; add the water, as needed, to thin the sauce to a pourable consistency. Set both aside.

Step 2

Prep all the vegetables and then fill a 9- or 10-inch pie plate with warm water. Slide one rice paper wrapper into the water and swirl it around briefly, only about 3 to 5 seconds—it should still feel slightly firm as you take it out of the water. Transfer it to a plate or a cutting board and, starting with a lettuce leaf, layer on your fillings one-third down from the top of the wrapper. Fold the top of the wrapper over the fillings, fold in the sides, and then roll up the rest of the wrapper.

Step 3

Transfer it to a serving plate and continue to make the rest of the rolls. Serve with the dipping sauces.

Serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as an appetizer

Baked “Fried Zucchini”

Traditional friend zucchini is such a popular appetizer, especially when dipped in zesty tomato sauce, but it’s almost always more breading and bland oil than a healthful way to eat your vegetables. My baked version offers all the taste you’re looking for in a way that elevates the zucs. For a quick and easy homemade sauce, see The Oil Olive Hunter Newsletter #137


  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, more as needed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Reggiano-Parmigiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 


Step 1

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. Combine the zucchini slices and olive oil in a large bowl and toss to coat well.

Step 2

Set up three shallow bowls or pie plates. Put the flour in one, whisk the eggs in another, and in the third, stir together the cheese, panko, basil, salt, and pepper. One at a time, dust the zucchini slices with flour, dip them in the egg, then in the cheese mixture, and place them on the sheet pan. 

Step 3

Bake until the coating turns brown and crispy, for 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  

Yields 4 servings