During the harsh months of winter warming, soulful foods make the dark days and cold nights less of a challenge. Now that spring is finally here I realize that I’ve become a bit of a focaccia fool. Focaccia became my go to side dish for soups and stews, and I got to the point that I was making it more than once a week. I felt a little like my grandmother pulling out my bowl and yeast, mixing up the dough from memory, and incorporating minute changes that make each bread a perfect compliment to the main dish. The recipe below I made to accompany a hearty chicken soup (using leftovers).
A few things that I do different is that I add herbs and spices that partner with main dish prior to kneading. Also, I do not knead my dough on a board. I knead the dough in the same bowl that I mix in. I do this because I’m always striving for less mess and this seems to work for me. Once I’m done kneading I pull the dough away from side of the bowl, pour in a little olive oil and roll the dough around in it before leaving it to rise. Also, it is recommended that you let the focaccia rest before cutting…this NEVER happens in our home.
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
3 cups flour
1 tbsp. coarse salt
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tbsp. coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add in olive oil, flour and salt. Mix together until dough starts to form. Turn on floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes.
Place in oiled bowl with moist towel over the top and let rise in a warm place until doubled, approximately 30 minutes.
In the meantime, heat 1 tbsp. oil in a small saute pan. Add the onion, garlic and seasoning. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes until the onions caramelize.
Deflate dough, press on to oiled baking sheet. Gently poke with your fingers to make divots that will hold the seasoned oil. Brush the surface with olive oil mixture and top with fresh parmesan and coarse salt. I sometimes will add a little fresh cracked red pepper as well. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool about one hour before slicing.
Let me know how you specialize yours.