The piadines or piadine They are a typical flat bread from the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna -whose capital is Bolonia-, related to the flat cakes of the whole planet, ranging from Mexican tortillas to Indian chapati. There is nothing more primal than to make a paste with flour and water, crush it into a cake and cook it on any hot surface, a type of preparation born in many areas of the world independently (out of necessity).
There is Consorzio di Tutela e Promozione della Piadina Romagnola IGP, which defines what is and is not an authentic piadina: a product made with wheat flour and water, fat – pork butter or olive oil – and salt; it may or may not contain some chemical yeast. The Knights of the Consortium distinguish two traditional types of piadin: the classic, compact, thick – the specification says that between four and eight millimeters thick – and brittle, and the riminese, soft, fine (three millimeters) and larger in diameter, which is what we will make in today’s recipe. Traditionally used in the countryside as a substitute for bread, they say that piadina spreads to cities emilianoromaneses after WWII, until it became what we know as street food. Throughout Romagna the piadines are found in typical kiosks called piadinerie. Filled with cold cuts, cheese, and fresh vegetables, or by folding them in half or by folding them in half, the piadinas are perfect for picnics, excursions, and the beach.
The most classic filling is a combination of cured prosciutto, fresh cheese from Emilia-Romagna -escacquerona- and arugula. Cold meats, soft cheeses and fresh vegetables are common, but today we find in the piadinerie just about any filling, from pasta or spreadable cheeses topped by sliced grilled meats to vegetarian versions with grilled vegetables. Many recommend having your filling prepared before cooking the piadina dough so, once you have turned the cake, place the cheese in half so that it begins to melt with the heat of cooking. As soon as the cake is cooked and the cheese somewhat melted, you take it out, you just fill it and you eat it freshly made. What is your mouth watering?
Scarce, give the dough the necessary consistency and stretch it very thin. Oh, and don’t over-toast the piadines so they can fold easily.
- 400 g of plain white flour (or 350 g of plain flour and 50 g of whole wheat)
- 70 g of cold lard or 45 g of olive oil
- 180 ml cold water
- 10 g of salt
- Cheese, cold cuts or vegetables to accompany
Mix all the ingredients except the water in a bowl, rubbing the flour against the fat with your fingertips, until you get a gritty mixture.
Add the water and mix well until you obtain a more or less homogeneous and smooth dough, which should not stick to your fingers, but it should not be so dry that it cracks around the edges when stretched. Adjust the consistency of the dough, if necessary, with more water or more flour, because each flour has a different capacity to absorb liquid.
Knead lightly on the table, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into six equal portions and roll them into balls, rolling them on the table. Cover again and let it rest for another 30 minutes to facilitate subsequent stretching.
Roll out the dough balls one by one until they are thin, 2-3 mm; leave the cakes on the table and start the stretching over the first time it was allowed to rest, stretching in two stages.
Heat a flat iron or large frying pan over medium heat (be careful, you don’t have to go overboard with the temperature) and, without greasing the surface, cook the first piadina, about 2 minutes on each side. The traditional thing is to rotate it by hand from time to time, like someone turning a record.
Repeat the operation with the rest of the piadine and go stacking them on a plate protected with a cloth so that they do not get cold.
Serve folded in half, stuffed to taste, for example, with mozzarella cheese, fresh vegetables and Serrano ham.
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