Iopened thissite, to find a beautiful picture of a cherry tomato focaccia staring atme. Reading some more, found out this is a new group aptly called BreakingBread, where there´s a monthly recipe to beused as guide to bake something interesting. The fact that the first item isfocaccia is terribly inviting, because, really, who doesn´t like focaccia?
I rememberthe moment when this olive oil dough forever became a favorite. We (this waseighteen years ago, so the we no longer applies..but the memoriesare still as good) had just arrived to Santa Margherita, near Portofino, it was pouring,and we were so hungry after driving for hours and skipping lunch.
Itwas mid-afternoon and found out most places were probably taking a nap, sincethey were closed until dinner service began. The only one we found open wasdark and there was someone inside, but clearly not waiting for any customers.After explaining our situation, which was not good considering our tired, messyappearance, I guess he took pity on us and offered some ham and cheesesandwiches. As a last resource really, by the way he talked about the food hewas going to serve us, like he was kindly offering us leftovers, ashamed thathe couldn´t serve us a proper meal. The bread that he used was focaccia.
Letme tell you that filled grilled crusty golden sandwich is still oneof my best food memories.
Hereis a humble interpretation, not intended to replace it. Some memories are bestkept as such.
Ilove the combination of blue cheese and walnuts. The potato adds an unexpectedcreaminess. The nuts in the dough and a sharp blue cheese make the differencehere. It gives this bread it´s character.
Ourhostess this month is Lora, from Cake Duchess, and she posted such a completestep-by-step guide to making focaccia you should be heading there right now,before starting this recipe!
FOCACCIA WITH POTATO, BLUE CHEESE AND WALNUTS
adaptedfrom: How to Bake by Nick Malgieri Copyright (c) Nick Malgieri 1995, All Rights Reserved
Makes 1 focaccia
Ingredients: 1 1/3 cups warm tap water (about 110 degrees)2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour3 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cupwalnuts, coarsely broken
1cup blue cheese, crumbled
2 smallpotatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (a mandoline works best)
Coarsesalt for sprinkling
Oliveoil, extra for pan and top of the dough
Measurethe water into a bowl and whisk in the yeast and olive oil.
Measurethe flour and 2 teaspoons salt into a mixing bowl (I do it directly in thestand mixer bowl) and stir well to combine. Add half cup of broken walnuts.
Addthe yeast mixture and mix for a minute until incorporated. You can do this byhand with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
Coverthe bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise at room tº until doubledin bulk about 1 hour.
Spreadan additional 1 ½ tablespoons on the bottom of a 10×15-inch rectangular or14-inch round pan (25x38cm rectangular or 35cm round).
Turnthe dough out of the bowl onto the pan and pat and press until the dough fillsthe pan completely. If the dough resists, let it rest for a few minutes beforecontinuing.
Coverthe dough with a piece of oiled plastic wrap (oiled side down) and allow it torise again until doubled, up to 1 hour.
Preheatthe oven to 450º F/ 220ºC.
Dimplethe surface of the risen focaccia by using your fingertips to poke cavities inthe dough.
Takethe potato slices and scatter them on top of the dough. With your fingers pressthe middle of the slice down into the dough; this way some of the potato willcrisp and some will become creamy together with thedough. Scatter the crumbled blue cheese (and 2 Tbs extra walnuts ifdesired) on top. Drizzle a few Tbs olive oil, thyme and salt on top.
Bakefor about 25 minutes, or until deep golden. Lift the side of the focaccia witha spatula or pancake turner and check the bottom about halfway through bakingtime. If it is getting too dark, slide the pan onto another pan to insulate thebottom.
Youcan serve immediately, sliding the baked focaccia from the pan to a cuttingboard. If it will be served later, slide it off the pan onto a rack to cool.
Keeploosely covered at room tº. For longer storage wrap in plastic wrap, then foiland freeze.
Toserve, unwrap and reheat for about 5 to 10 minutes in a 375ºF / 190ºC oven.