All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Thursday, December 4, 2008

nick's christmas eve focaccia

This is Nick Malgieri's Christmas Eve focaccia - with a few changes, of course. I'll have to post the recipe later, since I'm running late and the computer is running sloooooow. Isn't it gorgeous?! Enjoy your day!
OK, I'm back. I found this post of Nick's here, and instantly went into the kitchen to try it out.
The dough was incredibly easy to make, and got to say, it's the best focaccia dough I've ever tasted. It's a keeper, for sure.
The topping was another matter. The recipe is based on an old Italian recipe from Bari, in Italy, and called for anchovies, onions, and olives. The anchovies I had were not those sweet little curls of little fishies, but more a mush when I turned them into the onion topping. Next time, I would not add the anchovies at all.
As I sauteed and tasted, I kept adding things that I felt honored the earthy taste of the topping - mushrooms ( not sauteed, but sliced in raw), then some scallions, then a little oil, then some rosemary and fresh pepper. Next time I might even add some bits of tomato and cheese - just a little.
I think this would be wonderful party food, as well as a brunch - or, well, breakfast? You make it in a jellyroll pan, so, cut up, that's lots of apps!
To make:
The dough:
4 cups King Arthur flour
a little salt
1 envelope dry yeast ( I use Rapid Rise)
1 2/3 cups warm water
3 T. olive oil
More olive oil for the jellyroll pan
One jellyroll pan or similar 11x17 inch pan, oiled with olive oil
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large onions, peeled, halved, and sliced thinly from stem to root end
fresh pepper
a little salt
1/2 cup oil or brine cured black olives, in halves or pieces
3 scallions, sliced thinly
6 or so raw white mushrooms, sliced medium
1 T. fresh rosemary
(1 tomato, diced - optional)
1/2 cup grated mozzarella - optional)
1 t. basil, dry, sprinkled over all
To make the dough:
Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir.
Measure water into a small bowl.
Using a fork, mix yeast in warm water and olive oil and briskly whisk.
Make a well in the center of the flour and add the water/oil/yeast mixture.
Using a rubber spatula, scoop the flour into the wet mix until incorporated.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in barely warm oven ( I do this by turning on the oven for a minute, then turning off. Feel the rack to make sure it isn't too hot.)
Let dough rise to double - about an hour or so, depending on temperature.
Oil the baking pan, if you haven't yet.
Scoop dough into pan and spread out with your hands, until the dough covers the pan. This is a soft, easy to press, dough.
Place dough in turned off oven and let rise about a half hour.
While it's rising, prepare the topping.
Pour half the olive oil into a large skillet and heat. Add the onions and cook slowly, but turn often. They should look golden to slightly charred, about 20 minutes or more.
Add the mushrooms and cook five minutes. Add the olives.
Add the scallions, rosemary, and pepper and turn off heat.
Take out the risen dough and dimple with your fingers. Spoon the topping over the dough and spread out evenly. Add the tomatoes, if using, and the cheese, if using. Drizzle with the rest of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the basil and a little salt.
Place in preheated 425F oven and cook for 30 minutes.
Absolutely the best! Enjoy!


Barb said...

Hi Katrina~ It's so crazy busy this time of year - hard to find time to get on the computer, but I was reading your post about the focaccia and read about heating your oven for just a minute (and then turning it off) to let the bread rise. I am dying to try to make bread one of these days, but my house tends to be rather chilly during the winter - so that rising issue always is in the back of my mind - so your suggestion about the quick warming of the oven sounds possible. Any other suggestions, or any suggestions on books to read for a novice, wanna-be bread-baker???

Thanks for any suggestions you may have (& sorry for such a long comment, or a rather thinly disguised plea for help!)

katrina said...

Hi Barb!

Yes, my house is very chilly, and the oven solution works great - just don't do more than a slight warming.
As far as bread tips go, I think you'd be wise to click on Farmgirl Fare ( under my listing of links), and then click on her A Year in Bread blog. My other thoughts would be to buy a bread book from King Arthur flour ( also under links), or browse the bookstores for a bread book you feel comfortable with. Cookbooks are so individual! What works for me, may not work for you. Good luck!

Barb said...

Thanks, Katrina, I know you are right. I love Farmgirl Fare's blogs (in fact, I think I found you through her!), but your oven solution is a good idea. I just need to give it a go and find some time to 'just do it'.

katrina said...

Hello again, Barb! I know what you mean about time! I have yet to buy a proper bread pan, so I do some rustic round loaves, or herb sticks ( which I'm making as we speak)....but I did find Nick's focaccia to be the best I've tasted because it's so tender. Don't know if you're into pizza and/or focaccia, but this dough is remarkable....brrrr, here. So stay warm!