With the cold weather upon us, we love dunking this yummy focaccia bread deep into a luscious bowl of simmering soup. The delightful aroma of shallots, rosemary and thyme wafting through the house is incredible, so much so that we often make this a meal in itself.
You can use store bought dough or make your own.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Dough for the focaccia loaves: (recipe adapted from Issue #4 2003 of Everyday Food)
2 envelopes active dry yeast (1/4 ounce each)
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
Toppings for the focaccia:
4 small russet potatoes, thinly sliced
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, grated
3 garlic gloves, minced
salt & pepper to taste
For the focaccia loaves:
In an electric mixer bowl, sprinkle yeast over 2 cups of warm water; let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Add 1/4 cup olive oil. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt. Using your paddle attachment, slowly add flour mixture to yeast mixture on a low speed until combined. Switch to the dough hook; knead on medium -high speed until dough is smooth and slightly tacky, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Place in an oiled bowl; turn to coat. Cover with oiled plastic wrap; let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Divide the dough in half; flatten into disks. Lightly flour the dough and punch it down.
Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 12 by 10 inches. Brush off any excess flour and transfer to the oiled baking sheet. Brush the dough with olive oil, cover and let rise for 1 hour.
While you dough is rising prepare your toppings.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Meanwhile, in a roasting pan, add the onions, potatoes; drizzle with olive oil, season with garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Bake, until potatoes and onions are tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, bake about 20 minutes. Set aside and let cool until ready to use.
Sprinkle the potato and shallot mixture onto the dough, spreading evenly, with your fingers press it into the dough, being careful not to puncture or tear the dough.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown and the bread is crisp on the bottom. Let cool in the pan to room temperature. Cut into finger slices, squares, or triangles. Serve as an appetizer, along a bowl of soup, or to compliment a dinner. The next time I make these beautiful light scrumptious loaves, I plan on topping one each with smashed garlic potatoes, feta cheese and asparagus. What will you make yours with?