Another hot day, but the temperature finally relented slightly, and there is a light breeze in the evening. Last night was wonderfully cool, and we went to the outdoor cinema here in Garbatella to see Una famiglia perfetta, which was better than expected.
What to eat? When it’s hot, it is hard to think of what to eat, but we cannot have prosciutto e melone or caprese salad every night. (Two nights a week, definitely.) I fancied something light, vegetarian, not Italian, but with a holiday feel. I had seen Ladenia mentioned in The Guardian a few weeks ago: Readers’ recipe swap: seaside, and that fit the bill perfectly.
This very simple pizza-like recipe is cooked on
some of the Cyclades islands and smells of Greek
Turning the oven on may not seem like the best idea, but we did need some bread. The sourdough starter is recovering from a week home alone in the fridge, and has just had its first post-holiday feed. (I know some people take their starter on holiday with them, but they were probably not on local buses in +33C weather…….) So, some starter went in the bread, and some went in the pizza base. Any pizza base you like would work, really, it should be a thicker focaccia style dough.Ladenia is a specialty from the island of Kimolos. Usually the base is yeast-based and quite thick, which is needed to soak up the generous amounts of olive oil drizzled over the base, as well as the juices from the roasting tomatoes. I reduced the amount of olive oil, and
made a sourdough base, but you could use any thicker pizza crust recipe. Another great-looking Ladenia recipe is Laurie Constantino’s. Here’s my variation, with a thinner rye sourdough crust.
Ladenia (Greek pizza with onions, tomatoes, capers and oregano)
300g plain flour
160 g sourdough starter (100% hydration rye), or 10g dry yeast
160g water, enough for the dough to come together
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 large onions, sliced thinly (one red, one white – whatever you prefer)
20 small tomatoes, halved
A generous handful of capers (rinse off salt if yours are salt-packed)
Generous pinches of dried oregano
A little salt and pepper
A light drizzle of olive oil
Make a simple pizza dough, and let it rise half an hour or so. Heat the oven to 210C. Stretch the dough on a baking tray. Dimple the dough with your fingers to make little pockets, and spread the sliced onions over the dough. Add as many sliced tomatoes as you think looks good, and sprinkle over capers and oregano. A little salt and pepper as well. Drizzle a little olive oil, and bake 45 minutes.
Notes: this rye sourdough crust was a little thin, but nice and crispy, and it held up well under the weight of the toppings. Also nice cold. Normally the base would be thicker, and made with white flour. I’ll make it again with a thicker dough next time. The onions and tomatoes are really tasty after 45 minutes in the oven, slightly sweet, and the salty kick of the capers is lovely. Very tasty.