Umbria’s Excellent Piadine

Whatever an Umbrian cook serves, it’s always delicious. Even the simple piadina sandwich can be exquisite. The secret behind Umbria’s excellent piadine is fresh, high quality ingredients and imagination. The variations of piadine are endless. The wrapper—a flat bread called piadina—is very similar to Mexican flour tortillas, but slightly thicker. La piadina makes a quick lunch, an appetizer, an afternoon snack, or a late-night meal. As long as you have access to flour tortillas, you can quickly make authentic tasting piadine at home. (By now you might have figured it out—la piadina is singular; le piadine is plural.)

About the Griddle

I have two twelve inch round heavy griddles. The one from Umbria is called the testa; the other is a comal from Mexico. Either of these is perfect for cooking piadine, but so is a large heavy skillet. Cast iron is perfect, but not necessary.

Two of My Favorite Piadine Recipes

Piadina with Mozzarella and Sautéed Chard

It might sound odd to have sautéed chard in a piadina, but this is one of my favorite piadine. And it is a great way to get kids to eat their veggies! I also love this combination on a ciabatta roll.

  1. Use clean scissors to cut off the thick stems of the chard (use one to two leaves per piadina). (Discard the stems or cook them in soup or with other vegetables.) Cut the leaves into pieces. Wash the chard well; shake off most of the water.
  2. Heat a saucepan over medium heat; add a couple teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add the chard. Cook and stir until limp. Cover and cook until tender and most of the water has evaporated. Cooking time depends on quantity, from 5 to 10 minutes. Cook uncovered to remove moisture, if needed. Remove from the heat; season to taste with salt. Let stand.
  3. Heat a griddle over medium heat (alternatively, use a large, heavy skillet). Drizzle olive oil lightly over the griddle. Put a large (9 to 10-inch) flour tortilla on the griddle; carefully use your hand to swirl the tortilla around the griddle. When the bottom is slightly brown but still soft, flip the tortilla over. Immediately cover half of the tortilla with slices of mozzarella cheese (preferably fresh, wrapped in plastic rather than in water). (Note: If the mozzarella or chard are wet, drain them on  paper towels for a minute or two.)
  4. Cover the cheese with the chard; sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Fold the tortilla in half, covering the filling. When the bottom of the tortilla is lightly browned and slightly crisp, flip the piadina over to brown the other side and to finish melting the cheese. Cut in half or into four wedges. Serve immediately.

Piadina with Prosciutto and Emmenthaler

If you have a deli nearby that sells Italian prosciutto, buy freshly cut slices for this recipe. Most American prosciuttos are too salty; however, I have found a packaged American prosciutto called La Quercia, that is really delicious. That’s what I often use because I can keep it on hand. This artisan company also makes speck and other Italian-style cured meats.

  1. Heat a griddle over medium heat (alternatively, use a large, heavy skillet). Drizzle olive oil lightly over the griddle. Put a large (9 to 10-inch) tortilla on the griddle; carefully use your hand to swirl the tortilla around the griddle. When the bottom is slightly brown but still soft, flip the tortilla over. Immediately cover half of the tortilla with slices of Emmenthaler cheese.
  2. Arrange a slice or two of thinly sliced prosciutto over the cheese; sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. (Optional: add a small handful of arugula). Fold the tortilla in half, covering the filling. When the bottom of the tortilla is lightly browned and slightly crisp, flip the piadina over to brown the other side and to finish melting the cheese. Cut in half or into four wedges. Serve immediately.

The variations of piadine are endless. Here are some combinations to try:

  • Piadina with grilled sausage and mozzarella. Add a handful of arugula or thin strips of roasted red peppers. (Note: slice the sausage in half lengthwise.)
  • Piadina with mushrooms sautéed in olive oil and garlic, mozzarella, and prosciutto. (Note: mince the mushrooms after sautéing.)
  • Piadina with mascarpone cheese, smoked salmon, minced red onions, freshly ground black pepper
  • Piadina with crisp bacon, slices of heirloom tomatoes (in season), and sliced fresh mozzarella (patted dry with paper towels, if needed).
  • Piadina with truffle pecorino, scrambled eggs, and sautéed sliced mushrooms.
  • Piadina with Gorgonzola dolce, fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced pears, and chopped walnuts. (Note: pat mozzarella dry with paper towels, if needed.)
  • Piadina with thinly sliced grilled zucchini and Emmenthaler cheese.
  • Piadina with Brie, speck, and arugula.
  • Piadina with smoked mozzarella, sautéed pancetta, and spinach.
  • Piadina with grilled slices of eggplant, fontina cheese, and prosciutto.
  • Piadina with grilled figs, fresh cream cheese, and sautéed pancetta.
  • Piadina with thinly sliced bresaola, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, and arugula seasoned with fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Design your own piadine using your favorite ingredients. Below are some ideas for ingredients:

  • Meats: prosciutto, ham, salami, speck, porchetta, sautéed pancetta or bacon, grilled sausage, bresaola.
  • Cheese: Brie, robiola, pecorino, Jack, fontina, mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, ricotta, cream cheese, mascarpone, Emmenthaler.
  • Vegetables & Fruit: thinly sliced onions (sautéed or raw), grilled vegetables, fresh tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, sautéed chard or spinach, lettuce, arugula, pears, figs.
  • Miscellaneous: pesto, olive tapenade, smoked salmon, tuna with mayonnaise, scrambled eggs.

I bet you could come up with many more ingredients and combinations of piadine. Please write a comment if you have more ideas to share.

September 2015 Tour

Our September 2015 Tour–EAT, DRINK & MAKE PHOTOS–is getting close! We still have a couple more spaces, so register now by calling Suzanne at 707-815-5710 or by using the registration form on the right side of this page.

 

 

 

 

About suzanne@cookwithclass.com

After living in Umbria for 1-1/2 years and spending many more months there visiting friends, Suzanne creates and leads intimate food and wine tours in Umbria. Author of "The Dog Who Ate the Truffle: A Memoir of Stories and Recipes from Umbria."

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