February 27th, 2011

{guest recipe} Focaccia with Onions, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Pecorino

Brooklyn Supper Foccacia

Elizabeth and Brian are on the top of my new favorite friends list. And, once you get to know them, I’ll bet that they’ll be on the top of yours, too. I got to know these two, the couple behind the fabulous seasonal recipe blog Brooklyn Supper, while writing at The Family Kitchen, to which they bring a unique — and important! — point-of-view. The couple started their blog after deciding to eat only local and in-season food. Lucky for us, they’ve never looked back. Check out Brooklyn Supper to get more of Elizabeth and Brian’s recipes, which ingeniously manage to be both inventive and homey all at once. Yum, yum, yum.

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I am thrilled to be writing a guest post for OHM. I’ve long appreciated Stacie’s family-friendly fresh cooking, and it’s a real treat to contribute to a blog I love so much. By way of introduction, I’m Elizabeth and I write the blog Brooklyn Supper with my husband Brian. We focus on local, seasonal ingredients, because healthy, delicious home cooking is important to us. We also like unhealthy, delicious home cooking, so we do a lot of desserts, too. As our daughter grows, we’ve developed a new focus on dishes that are easy for busy people and kid-friendly.

Fresh focaccia is the kind of kid pleasing dish we make a lot of these days. It’s do-able on a weeknight, there are ways for kids to join in, and it tastes great to adults as well as to children, who, as we know, do not generally have well-developed palates. It’s a lot like pizza, but without the stress. Or maybe I’m the only one who gets stressed out about pizza–am I? Anyway, the great doughy texture is only one of the things to love about focaccia. In this instance there’s also cheese, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh rosemary.

Small hands can easily help tear the rosemary and shred the cheese. Our daughter had a great time helping me prepare the ingredients and watching me sprinkle the toppings on the dough.

Focaccia is best started a couple hours ahead of time since the dough needs to rest frequently. Even though it takes a long time overall, the hands-on time is pretty short. It’s wonderful for a special lunch box snack, but it also goes well with a winter soup or salad.

Focaccia with Onions, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Pecorino
adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
(One Hungry Mama says that this can be shared with finger-food eating kids 10+ mos)

for the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons good olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour

for the topping:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion or medium shallot, sliced paper thin
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Proof the yeast by sprinkling it into a bowl with 1/4 cup warm (not hot) water and the sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, or just a large bowl, combine 1 cup of warm water with the proofed yeast. Then add the salt and olive oil, and slowly mix in the flour, until the dough is cohesive, but still rather sticky. Using the dough hook, knead the dough in the mixer for 3 or 4 minutes, or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface. In either case, add more flour as necessary, keeping in mind that you want the dough to be damp and sticky.

Oil the bowl, place the dough inside, and cover with a damp cloth. Set the bowl somewhere warm and still to rise for about an hour.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll or pull it out, until you have an oval that’s about 1/2” thick. Set it on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Cover again with a damp cloth and allow the dough to rise for another half-hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When the dough has risen, put into the oven, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the dough, carefully sprinkle on the onion, tomatoes, and rosemary, and then return the focaccia to the oven. Bake for another 10 minutes, or just until the dough starts to turn light golden. Sprinkle the focaccia with Pecorino just as it comes out of the oven. Let the focaccia cool briefly, and then dig in.

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