Naan flatbreads got me through that point right after college where I had no money but was just starting to get "into" food. Not that naan bread, a type of Indian flatbread, is exotic by any stretch but I used to be such a picky eater and it wasn't until I was out of college did I start trying new things and my world totally opened up from there. The first time I had it, it did feel exotic to me because it was unlike anything I'd had before. I was introduced to it when I went to an Indian restaurant for the first time and it had me instantly with its bubbly surface, airy feel and those crunchy little charred bits. It was soft and delicate with just the slightest crunch. When I started seeing it become more widely available and popping up in grocery stores, I stocked my freezer with a stash of it and I found that not only was it great for mopping up spicy curries and masalas, it was the perfect size for easy flatbreads. I'd make my little naan flatbreads when I was working late or crunched for time and wanted something that felt a little "gourmet" but still could be quickly thrown together. It's so easy to take a couple of pieces out, preheat the oven, and top them with whatever random bits and pieces I have hanging around.
I hadn't planned to write about this or post about this but when I pulled these little flatbreads out of the oven, the light just hit them in the right way and I couldn't help but take a photo. And, it had been a while since I made a naan flatbread and I was feeling a little nostalgic for those days when everything was new. It reminded me of that time in my life when I was really getting more and more interested in food. Never would I have in a million years thought I'd end up doing it professionally but I think things just work out the way they are supposed to (with a little help, of course..).
Below is the recipe for the version that I made in this photo but feel free to top with whatever your heart desires.
APPLE AND SMOKED GOUDA FLATBREADS
4 pieces of Naan bread
1 cup smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
1 cup arugula
Balsamic reduction, for drizzling (optional)*
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay out the four pieces of naan bread onto a baking sheet. Top each with 1/4 cup of the smoked Gouda. Slice the apple into thin slices and divide up amongst each piece of naan bread. Bake the naan bread until the cheese melts and the bread becomes crispy, about 7 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and top each piece with 1/4 cup of arugula. Drizzle with balsamic reduction (see note below).
Balsamic reduction - can be either be made by pouring a cup of balsamic vinegar into a pot and setting it to boil until it reduces by half, about 15 minutes. Or, balsamic reduction can be bought in the store and kept on hand for a easy garnish that can really give even the humblest of meals a bit of flair.