Of Coca and ‘Shrooms

2008.Feb.03 Sunday · 7 comments

in Food & Recipes

“…after experimenting for a few days, I can say coca might even be better than pizza. The dough for the latter is tricky, and the super-hot baking temperature is tough to get right in a home oven. But a coca is as easy as pie filling: You mix the dough fast, knead it by hand and bake it at roast-chicken setting for perfect results.”

– Regina Schrambling, LA Times

Buenos Aires – You might remember THE mushrooms from last month – grilled oyster mushrooms with a molasses chili butter. I don’t remember the last time I made a dish that got such universal raves and requests for how to make it from the guests. And it was really pretty simple. And really good. So there I was at the grocery store restocking the larder after vacation, spotted some fresh oyster mushrooms, and said, why not? So I grabbed half a pound or so, and figured I’d whip up the dish for my own consumption…

Chile-Molasses Oyster Mushroom Coca

…and then, there was this article in the L.A. Times from one of my favorite snarky food writers, quote above, all about the coca. Nothing to do with the leaf, nor the soft drink, but the Spanish flatbread pizza… and I started thinking, hmmm… I started experimenting on the day I got back home with this bread that I got out of a local recipe book, the bread inexplicably called pan de kansas, though seeming to have nothing to do with either Kansas the state, or Kansas the local Houston’s knock-off restaurant (and I find no relevant listings for either that name, nor in English, Kansas Bread) – which suddenly seemed to be a perfect match, in my mind, for the molasses butter mushrooms… This time I chopped the mushrooms into pieces, and sauteed them in the molasses butter with a couple of fresh chilies, until all was lightly caramelized. Then I rolled out a piece of the dough into a nice sized coca for one, covered it with the mushrooms, sprinkled a little grated reggianito cheese atop, and threw it in a very hot oven for about 12 minutes, just to cook and lightly brown the crust and topping, and sat down with that and a beer, and I was one happy camper.

The bread recipe (which also makes really good bread… REALLY good bread) comes from a book called Panadería de aquí y de allá (Bread baking from here and there), by María Laura D’Aloisio and Juan Manuel Herrera – the particular recipe is listed as one of the former author’s… here’s my take on translating it and making it work – I made a couple of minor modifications:

Kansas Bread

1 packet dry yeast
400 ml warm water
1 tablespoon sugar

Mix, and let the yeast proof for about five minutes. Add:

300 gm all purpose flour
300 gm bread flour (or just 600 gm of one or the other)
50 gm whole wheat flour
50 gm oat flour
50 gm sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
50 gm softened butter
2 tablespoons of honey

Mix it all thoroughly and knead for ten minutes until smooth and elastic. Let rise in a warm place, covered, until doubled in size. Punch down, split into two equal parts and press into two buttered bread loaf pans. Let rise until at least doubled in size again. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until browned and the bottom sounds hollow when thumped lightly.

Note: for the coca, above, I let it rise the first time, but then rolled it out very thinly (less than 1/4″), topped it and put it in the oven immediately, not allowing it to rise at all.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Stovetop Traveler February 11, 2008 at 01:44

I’m glad to see you post a recipe using reggianito. It is one of the few Argentine cheese we can get here in the States, but I wondered whether it was something that Argentines actually used or not. Now I know. That looks like a big coca for one, but it seems like a universal problem that people always eat more pizza at one sitting than they should.

dan February 11, 2008 at 12:23

Reggianito is very popular here as a grating cheese – it’s pretty much what there is instead of parmigiano reggiano…

It’s all an illusion, the coca simply looks bigger than it really is/was… which was probably about 8″ x 10″ – and while the first two quarters went down quickly, the other two were nibbled upon over several hours catching up on some movies…

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