Friday, August 15, 2008

Olive, Rosemary, and Onion Focaccia

There are several things you are going to learn about me as we become friends here on this blog. And that includes the fact that I have a list of "scared-to-make" foods. Things included on this list are large cuts of meat, anything to do with phyllo dough (one bad experience is enough to turn me away for life), and BREAD.

The bread item had remained unchallenged until about a two months ago when I attempted some herbed focaccia rolls, with good results. And then I saw this post over at ...A cookie a day and decided I would give focaccia yet another shot (complete with her advice to caramelize the onions). I made it last weekend, brought some over to my parents' house, and my mom and my sister both loved it!

So as we head back over to my parents' house for Sunday dinner this week; I will be bringing it again. Make sure to press the toppings into the bread before baking; as my first attempt had olives and rosemary leaves raining down on the plate when taking a bite. A nice, creamy Asiago cheese spread complements this well.

Olive, Rosemary, and Onion Focaccia

a 1/4-ounce package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves plus whole rosemary leaves
1/4 cup minced onion, caramelized*
1/2 pound Kalamata, Ni├žoise, or green Greek olives or a combination, pitted and cut into slivers (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, or to taste

*To caramelize onions, I heat a small amount of oil in a skillet and add the chopped onion. Cook for 30-35 minutes, while stirring regularly; until the onion starts to brown and become very soft.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook stir together the yeast, the sugar, and 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water and proof the yeast mixture for 5 minutes, or until it is foamy. Stir in 4 1/2 cups of the flour, the salt, and 2 tablespoons of the oil and knead the dough, scraping down the dough hook occasionally and adding as much of the remaining 1/2 cup flour as necessary to form a soft, slightly sticky dough, for 3 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn it to coat it with the oil, and let it rise, covered, in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it is double in bulk. Knead in the chopped rosemary, press the dough with lightly oiled hands into a well-oiled 15 1/2- by 10 1/2-inch jelly-roll pan, (mine was rather "free-form", making a rough 9x16 rectangle on a large cookie sheet) and let it rise, covered loosely, for 30 minutes. The dough may be made 8 hours in advance and kept covered and chilled.

Dimple the dough with your fingertips, making 1/4-inch-deep indentations, brush it with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and top it with the onion, the olives, the salt, and the whole rosemary leaves. Bake the focaccia in the bottom third of a preheated 400°F. oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until it is golden and cooked through. Transfer the focaccia to a rack, let it cool for 10 minutes, and serve it, cut into squares, warm or at room temperature.

Waiting to go in the oven...

...and cooling off after!


Anonymous said...

thanks for the shoutout. better save me some :)

Anonymous said...

I LOOOOOVE foccacia! Seriously, olives and onion are my favorite toppings, too!