California Avocado and Shrimp Flatbread with smoked onion, candied sweet peppers and Cotija cream sauce

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 California Avocado and Shrimp Flatbread with smoked onion, candied sweet peppers and Cotija cream sa

The smooth, rich flavors of Fresh California Avocado pulls together the seafood and smoky/sweet components of this glamorous flatbread.


Serves: 10
    Flatbread Build for 1:
  Flatbreads (recipe follows)
oz.  Cotija Cheese Cream Sauce (recipe follows)
oz.  cooked shrimp (grill peeled, tailed and deveined shrimp, cool, cut into pieces)
1/2    Fresh California Avocado*, cut into 7-8 thin slices
oz.  Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2  tsp.  Cotija cheese, grated
tsp.  Candied Sweet Peppers, minced (recipe follows)
1 1/2  Tbsp.  Smoked Onions, diced (recipe follows)
1/4  tsp.  minced chive
    Flatbread (Yield: 10 flatbreads)
  package active yeast
1/2  tsp.  sugar
1 3/4  cups  all-purpose flour
tsp.  coarse salt
Tbsp.  fresh thyme leaves
3/4  cup  water (might need more)
tsp.  oil
    Cotija Cheese Cream Sauce (Yield: 10 flatbread portions)
Tbsp.  pancetta, small dice
oz.  sweet onion, small dice
tsp.  garlic, minced
oz.  white wine
1/16  tsp.  fresh ground black pepper
pt.  Heavy Cream
oz.  Cotija, finely grated
    Candied Sweet Peppers (Yield: 10 flatbread portions)
cup  sugar
cup  distilled white vinegar
  large red bell pepper, halved, seeded, and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  garlic clove, smashed
  cinnamon stick
  star anise
    Smoked Onions(Yield: 20 flatbread portions)
  ea. large sweet onion
tsp.  olive oil
  As needed  black pepper
  As needed  sea salt

As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados


Flatbread Build for 1:

  1. Spread Cotija Cheese Cream Sauce on a precooked Flatbread.
  2. In order, add and evenly distribute shrimp, smoked onion, ½ oz. mozzarella cheese, candied red pepper and grated Cotija cheese.
  3. Evenly distribute Fresh California Avocado slices across the flatbread and top with the remaining mozzarella. Place on a baking sheet.
  4. In a pre-heated 450°F oven, bake at high heat until the flatbread bottom is crisp and the cheese is bubbling, approximately 8-10 minutes.
  5. Cut into wedge-shaped pieces to serve.


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the yeast, sugar, flour, salt and thyme. Pulse to combine.
  2. Add the water in a steady stream until the dough begins to form a ball. Turn it onto a floured board and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. Coat a bowl with oil. Place dough in bowl, and cover with a damp cloth. Put in a warm spot to rise until double in size, about 1 hour.
  4. When doubled in size, punch down the dough, scrape it onto a floured board and knead it lightly into a smooth ball. Cut the ball into 10 pieces, and with a rolling pin form flat 10-12-inch ovals.
  5. Preheat a stove top grill pan to medium high. Do not oil. Place bread on hot grill and cook without touching until the surface bubbles, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn over and continue to cook 1 to 2 minutes or until bread has puffed up. Serve immediately.

NOTE: Prepared flatbreads (10-12”) can be used in this recipe.

Cotija Cheese Cream Sauce

  1. In a sauce pot on med-high heat, partially cook pancetta, then add onion and continue cooking until the onion begins to caramelize.
  2. Add garlic and continue until garlic has roasted garlic scent, deglaze with white wine, add black pepper. Continue cooking until mixture is reduced by half.
  3. Add cream and reduce an additional 20%, or to a sauce like consistency. Remove from heat.
  4. In a blender, puree sauce with Cotija until almost smooth. Taste for salt and cool.

Candied Sweet Peppers

  1. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the bell pepper strips, garlic, cinnamon stick, and star anise, then reduce the heat to low.
  3. Cook until the bell pepper strips are glazed, candied, and semi-transparent, about 45 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the bell peppers and liquid to an airtight container and refrigerate.

Smoked Onions

  1. Cut the top (the hard portion) of the onion off. Leave the bottom intact. Remove the outer layer of skin and discard.
  2. Brush each onion in olive oil. Liberally sprinkle sea salt and black pepper over each onion.
  3. Place the onions in a smoker at 200-225°F. (Use apple wood, if available). Smoke for 2 to 3 hours or until onions are soft.
  4. Remove from the smoker and cool. After cooling, cut into a medium dice.

NOTE: Caramelized onions can be substituted.

Serving Suggestion: Appetizer or starter on casual menus, passed appetizer for catering, buffet item.

Beverage Pairing: Lagers or light beers, fruity white wines like dry Rieslings or Gewurtraminers.

* Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Chef Dave Woolley

CD Culinary Approach

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