I came up with this sophisticated little number when I bought a few white anchovies for a Caesar salad I was making for a dinner party, and had some of these precious little fish left over from a trip to the Italian market in my neighborhood. They’re much less pungent than canned or salt cured anchovies, and they’re sustainable fish, too. What I like is that they taste milder than their salty cured brothers, so if you need to use those for this recipe, be sure to give them a good rinse beforehand. Otherwise, use quality small sardines for this flatbread.
If you’ve tended to shy away from anchovies before, just promise me you will try just one of these little fish somewhere in your life. And if you’re already one of the converted, then try this simple flatbread! The garlicky ricotta spread makes a nice foil for the oily little fish and fresh spring asparagus, but the star of the show is the lemon zest, added once you pull it out of the oven.
Since it’s almost spring, you’ll be able to find tender shoots of early asparagus st the store. Years ago when I was in college, there was a neighboring farm town that grew asparagus. College kids would work there, picking asparagus by riding on the back of a tractor with an attached wagon, sitting facing backwards, with their legs hanging off the back of the wagon. The asparagus would appear under the wagon as it moved down the rows, and snap! They’d reach between their dangling feet and break off the new asparagus, still warm from the sun, and toss it into the wagon behind them. If you can find asparagus this fresh, then definitely make this flatbread!
You’ll have a quick and elegant dinner or snack that is perfectly paired with a bottle of inexpensive prosecco or sparkling wine. Oh, did I just say bottle? I meant glass.
Spring Flatbread with White Anchovy and Asparagus
- 1 Flatout Thin Crust Flatbread
- 3 whole white anchovies, cut in half lengthwise, for a total of 6 pieces
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Zest of one lemon
- Juice of one lemon
- 6 spears of asparagus, blanched or grilled
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Place Flatout on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for two minutes. Remove from oven. In a small bowl combine ricotta, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with salt and a few turns of pepper. Spread this on the flatbread, then top with anchovies and asparagus, evenly, one after the other. Bake at 375°F for four minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle on fresh lemon zest and the parmesan cheese to taste.