Caramelized Onion, Feta, and Olive Focaccia
This is my husband Jim’s Focaccio. Fabulous!
Focaccia is the underlying basis of a pizza. It is more versatile than we typically make it in the U.S. This recipe is based on a recipe that I read somewhere a long time ago. You can customize it to your heart’s (or stomach’s) content. You can use stonger (and more expensive) cheeses like chèvre or gorgonzola. if you prefer. Fresh basil would be good. Be careful with fresh mushrooms, because they exude a lot of water during cooking.
The strong flavor of this dish makes it better for an appetizer than a main course. As an appetizer, you could get 8 to 10 servings. You need a pizza stone. Pizza stones produce a much better crust than a metal pan: crispy on the bottom, cooked through, and softer toward the top.
This recipe has a total preparation time of overnight for sourdough, three hours for a standard dough recipe. The actual slicing, dicing, and cooking take about an hour unless you can hustle like a short-order cook.
Ingredients, other than the obvious:
- flour, white unbleached , some whole wheat optional
yeast, sourdough or commercial
red onions, 3 large
garlic, several cloves
fresh rosemary, a sprig
fresh or sun-dried tomatoes, optional
Kalamata olives, 6-12
feta cheese, 6 ounces or more
mozarella cheese, 3 ounces or more
Prepare the dough according to your favorite recipe. I use 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, about 2 cups white flour, a cup of water, and an appropiate quantity of yeast. Prepare the dough by hand, or use an electric beater or bread machine.
After the dough has risen, slice the onions thinly and caramelize them, along with the garlic. Three large onions cook down to a much smaller volume.
Sprinkle the pizza stone (or pan if you must) with corn meal to keep the dough from sticking.
Roll out the dough on a floured board. Adjust the amount of flour if necessary to get the right consistency. Fit it into the pizza stone.
Brush the dough with a thin coating of olive oil.
Chop the rosemary finely and spread it on the crust.
Pit the olives (though I’m lazy and buy pitted olives). Cut them in halves or thirds. Arrange them on the crust.
Spread the cheeses. Spread the onions over the cheeses.Top your pièce de résistance with tomato slices.
Put the pizza stone in a cold oven and set the temperature to 450°F. Set a timer to 25 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, turn off the oven. Leave the foccacia for a few minutes, until it looks done. (I guess there’s a knack to this, but you’ll have to learn it for yourself. The crust should come out of the pan freely when you pry it up with a knife.)
Slice into small pieces. This dish is strongly flavored, not something that you can eat like regular pizza. For a meal, I’d go with a salad, a full-bodied wine, or beer.
– Jim Casey