Flatbread Mexican Lasagna . . . really!

Food and Wine magazine for April 2010 offers a fast recipe for a cheese lasagna layered with flatbreads, “easier to make than one with noodles.”

The photo looked great, and easy is good, but I had something else in mind.

So I went south-of-the-border instead of Mediterranean. Charles Shaw (“Two Buck Chuck”) shiraz went fine with it.

I have some old Corning baking dishes that are round, with “ears” for handles. All are about four inches across. The largest is at least three inches high, and I used that; the others are shallower.

For flatbread I used whole wheat Oroweat thin muffins, a great invention . . . they are pre-divided into top and bottom. I used two muffins, that is, four halves.

First, I decided bacon would be great in this concoction. I fried four strips of bacon, chopped, until it was crunchy. I divided it between the layer second from the bottom and the layer second from the top. This was a really good idea and I recommend it. 

Not having any ricotta or cottage cheese, but having some “light” cream cheese (semi-whipped texture), some light sour cream and some non-fat yogurt . . . I just whomped some of each together to plaster onto each half-muffin. (Don’t worry about proportions. Who cares?)

To begin, I spread a quarter-inch of jarred tomato salsa on the bottom of the oiled mini-casserole dish. The salsa was produced from fresh Sonoma County ingredients, as it happens; but you can use any old inferior non-Sonoma County product! I will say, next time I’d add a generous amount of chopped fresh cilantro stems to the salsa underneath the first half-muffin.

Anyway, the flatbreads were spread with the cheese. On half of them, I added shredded jalapeno jack cheese. (The amounts of all ingredients are strictly according to your best guess as to what will please your palate.) Each layer got a good dollop of salsa.

And then onto each layer I generously spooned leftover Santa Fe chili — home made from pinto beans, corn, cumin and lots of fresh cilantro leaves and chopped stems.

This assembly was topped off with salsa and shredded jalapeno jack cheese.

About an hour in a 400-degree convection oven finished it nicely . . .  and I did remember to let the dish set up for 20 minutes. The heap of modestly-fat-ridden ingredients dropped in height, during the set-up time, by about an inch. The result was pleasing — defiinitely not Mediterranean, and not exactly Santa Fe tex-mex — but pleasantly tasty.

We did have a little left over; I can’t imagine why! But it’s good cold! –Bob Cramer, The Fearless Taster.