This is such a versatile and easy to make good-food for your body and soul. You can make it low-cal or really high-cal, depending on the time of the year and your mood! My Coca here is made out of escalivada and anchovies. You can make a coca with all sorts of vegetables, meat, fish, spices, cheese… anything on it. My favourite, I have to say, is the traditional – roast red pepper, aubergine and onion rings. Protein then comes in form of anchovies or botifarra (traditional and deliciously meaty Catalan white sausage). Not mad about this combination? How about sun-dried tomatoes, sardines and rocket? Asparagus, ham and fresh mozzarella? How about curry chicken stripes, apple and gouda?
Right, I know… What is “coca de recapte”? A coca is flatbread (savoury) or pastry (sweet) typically made and consumed in Catalonia, among other areas. The dough is shaped, ingredients on top, into the oven/pan/grill/bbq. “Phew! Coca is then a flatbread!”…you might think. No, I am not cooking hard drugs. I spend my money on wonderful wine and seafood. And sports gear. And roller blades. And professional knives (thank you Zwilling). What is “recapte”? “Recapte” is Catalan for “Alright, after a hard work’s day, let’s see what we have left and how we can turn it into a meal”: this applies to leftovers as well as other stuff. Now, is this a focaccia? No. There are innumerable similarities in food within the different countries in the Mediterranean. But a coca is a coca, a focaccia is a focaccia and cous cous is not polenta. Walnuts are not pecans.
However, I have always felt that coques (plural for coca) are too-much-of-the-same-thing to be a meal. Therefore, I thought of two ways around it:
2 tablespoons lukewarm water|30 ml d’aigua tèbia.
2 tablespoons of olive oil|30 ml oli d’oliva verge extra.
Mix all the dry ingredients first. If possible, always sieve the flour. Otherwise use a whisker to bring oxygen into the flour. Add the water. Mix well, it will be sticky and messy. Don’t worry. Add the olive oil. Olive oil will bring a delicious crust and flavour. Now you may need to add flour, however only enough flour for you to be able to work with the dough until it is smooth and does not stick to the surface. Make a ball and leave the dough to ferment covered in a bowl for about 2 or 3 hours. Once it has raised, make 4 balls of dough and shape them using a rolling-pin.
Pre-heat oven to 350°F|180ºC . Drizzle olive oil, salt and black pepper on the vegetables and put them on an oven-proof dish:
1 aubergine (when buying, make sure it is not soft and it is heavy)
1 big red pepper (when buying, make sure it is not soft and it is heavy)
This will take about 30 or 40 minutes. What are we looking for? We want the vegetables to cook and roast, they need to release most of their water content therefore decreasing their volume. It is ok if the skin burns a little, we won’t use it and it will give an earthy flavour and taste. Also, your nose will tell you when they are almost ready!
How to prepare the veggies for the coca:
Leave them to cool a little. We need to cut the roast pepper open to remove the seeds. Now turn the pepper skin’s side up and start peeling it off. If the pepper is overcooked the skin will not come off easily. Same applies to the aubergine. Leave to cool. Cut the onion in thin slices.
Cut the pepper and aubergine longitudinally. Dispose on the shaped coca doughs and add the onion slices. Drizzle olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Put the shaped cocas on parchment or wax baking paper.
Put the topping on one of the coques and put the other one on top, veggies size down on the lettuce. Oh now I get to use my big knife…
Cut it in sandwiches or tapas… Enjoy a home-made Mediterranean treat, anytime, take it anywhere. Please get an ice-cold beer. Or a glass of water with a slice of lemon in it.