Peach and Basil Flatbread with Balsamic Glaze

You will see flatbreads included in every season of my recipes, primarily because of their ease in preparation and creativity of assembly. They are colorful, vibrant and deeply satisfying. The pairing of basil and balsamic is universally appealing, accentuated more so with the addition of ripe peaches (although, plums and cherries would make for amazing variations). The most time consuming aspect of this flatbread is preparing the almond cheese, which really is a breeze to make.

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Ingredients:

1 homemade or store-bought flatbread

(pizza dough, pitas, naan, or lavash are great substitutes)

1 peach, sliced

1 bunch of fresh basil leaves

Balsamic glaze, for garnish

Almond slivers, for garnish

Grapeseed oil, for baking

Almond Cheese:

1 cup of almonds, soaked in water and drained

(for at least one hour)

1 lemon, juiced

3 to 4 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil

A few generous leaves of fresh basil

Himalayan sea salt and pepper, to taste

To prepare the almond cheese, soak the almonds in water for at least one to two hours to soften. It doesn't matter if you use slivers, pieces or whole, it's all the same. Drain the almonds and add all of the ingredients for the cheese into your Ninja or food processor. This will produce a sublimely garlicky paste, but that is what my taste buds happen to demand from me. If yours object, start with one clove and build, as you adjust the seasoning. It is absolutely okay for the almond cheese to have a very potent flavor, as it will tone down once the flatbread has completed baking and has married with the other ingredients.

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the flatbread on a non-stick baking surface and very lightly brush with grapeseed oil. Spread a generous layer of the prepared almond cheese and lay out the peach, basil and almond slivers in an arrangement that is pleasing to you. Depending on your oven, flatbreads take between 10-15 minutes to bake, so they will be ready to devour in a flash.

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The peaches do not take a long time to caramelize, so stick around. They  produce the most mouth-watering glaze. Once the flatbread has reached a level of browning to your satisfaction, remove from the oven to a cooling rack and allow to cool a bit before drizzling the balsamic glaze as the final flourish. Adding it too quickly while the flatbread is still searing from the oven heat will result in a visually disappointing puddle of glaze.

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I do not find it necessary to bother with plates and utensils. Straight from the cutting board is an appropriate form of dining, in my opinion. My house, my rules.

Enjoy!