Nov 9, 2009

Flatbread Fever a la Turk: Gözleme

One of the many delicious Turkish foods we enjoyed on our recent trip was gözleme (GURZ-leh-MEH). You know how I love the flatbreads. Gözleme is the Turkish quesadilla and once you eat it you will want it all the time.

Gözleme is various fillings folded into lavaş (lah-VASH) bread then cooked on a griddle or skillet. ICheck out some of the videos on YouTube of women making lavaş and/or gözleme and see how incredibly thin they roll the dough. The women use long wooden dowels as rolling pins to create enormous disks that they flop onto a large circular griddle to cook. Fill it before you grill it and you have gözleme.

You can make gözleme at home on a smaller scale. The dough is simply flour, water, and salt. Rolling out the dough paper thin is a challenge. Just get the dough as thin as possible. The fillings are up to you. Traditional fillings are spinach and cheese or minced meat and cheese.

I did my best to recreate gözleme at home and we loved the results so I'll get plenty of practice.

For this batch I used half whole wheat flour and half white bread flour but white flour only is the norm. I used two cups total of flour (extra for dusting), about a teaspoon of salt, and about a cup of warm water. The measurements will vary depending on your method for scooping out flour, on the flour itself, the temperature and humidity in your house, etc. How many gözleme will two cups of flour make? That depends on how big you make them. Cut these measurements in half and start out real small if you're nervous. From this batch I made four gözleme.

Combine the salt and the flour then gradually add the water, stirring with a wooden spoon until the ingredients come together into something you can start working with your hands. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead, adding a flour as needed, for about 5-6 minutes. Let the dough rest 15-30 minutes covered with a damp towel.

The more room you have for rolling the better but lack of space kept my gözleme small. Ideally, you make a square gözleme out of a round of dough. Roll out the dough as thin as possible, fold in teh top and bottom sidest (resulting in a capsule shape), spread the filling in the center, then fold in the left and right sides on top of each other to give you a square. Because of my small work surface, I kept my gözleme small and folded them into half-moon shapes - another perfectly acceptable shape in the world of gözleme.

I don't have access to the delicious, salty, slightly tangy cheese used in the gözleme we had in Turkey so I used feta along with spinach, chopped parsley, and freshly ground black pepper. If you are going to use meat or onion I suggest cooking those ingredients first because the you only cook the gözleme a few minutes. I used my largest non-stick pan on slightly above medium heat. The first side I cooked dry. After the first flip, I gave the gözleme a very thin brush of olive oil. Flip again and brush again with olive oil. Continue to cook until both sides have those toasty brown spots (eyes). Gözleme comes from the Turkish word göz, meaning eye.

Once out of the skillet, I cut mine with a pizza wheel. Serve immediately and often.

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