Focaccia Red Onions, Olives and Rosemary

Focaccia Red Onions, Olives and Rosemary
Focaccia is a great alternative to bread, and it can be served also as a snack or appetizer, alone or paired with cheese, olives, salame and more.

In Italy focaccia is found almost in every region and the recipes vary according to the local tradition. The basic focaccia dough is very similar to pizza, made with flour, water oil, salt. However, pizza has less leavening agent, the yeast, to stay thinner than focaccia, which normally has a softer texture more similar to flat bread, with a thickness that varies from 1 to 2 inches (2 to 5 cm).

Focaccia is normally topped with just a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, but it can also have herbs, vegetables or even sliced fruit and raisin, again depending on the local recipes. Additional ingredients used for the recipe of focaccia dough can also be potatoes, eggs, honey and nuts with different results in texture and flavor.

Here is one made with flour and mash potato, for softer texture, and packed with tasty toppings. The preparation time for this focaccia recipe is about 2 hours, baking time 20 minutes.

Ingredients and Instructions (serves 6-8):

For the Focaccia Dough:

• 1 large potato
• 4 cups of all-purpose flour
• 2 1/2 teaspoons of instant active dry yeast
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil
• 1 teaspoon of sea salt
• warm water

For the Topping:

• 4 medium red onions
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil
• 20 flavorful black olives, pitted & cut in half
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
• coarse sea salt
• a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

1. Peel and cut the potato in big cubes, cook it in salted boiling water until soft, then drain and mash it.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, dry yeast, mashed potato and olive oil; finally add the warm water, a tablespoon at a time, just enough to make the mixture come together and become a dough.
3. Transfer the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, or until smooth and shiny.
4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm spot in the kitchen, and let rise until doubled in size, for about 1 hour.
5. While the dough is rising, peel the onions and slice them thinly.
6. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet, add the onions and cook them over medium low heat, stirring often until light golden brown.
7. Spread evenly a little oil on the bottom of a baking pan – I used a 13”x11”x2” or 33x28x5 cm – and press the dough with your fingers so that it fits evenly all around the pan.
8. Top with the onions, olives, rosemary and the coarse sea salt, drizzle the olive oil all over and finally let the focaccia rest for about ½ hour.
9. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and when ready bake the focaccia for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes then slice and serve.

Enjoy and buon appetito!

Cinzia Aversa, 2014

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