Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oregano Focaccia with Tomato and Caramelized Onions

When Jeff picked out this focaccia recipe to make this week, I was only mildly enthusiastic. I usually prefer thin crust pizzas (and this is essentially a pizza - same dough, different cooking method). I also wasn't convinced that the dough would cook properly this way. I envisioned a crisp, overcooked crust and a soggy top with limp veggies. I did not get any of that.

The crust was perfectly done, slightly crispy around the edges but tender and firm. The tomatoes dehydrated slightly, packing a huge flavor punch. Add to that the gorgeous caramelized sweet onions - how they managed to stay moist without making the crust soggy is beyond me, but I'm glad it worked! The sprinkling of salsa jack cheese added a nice pizza-y touch. Super yummy.

I kicked the original recipe up a notch or two by making my own pizza dough. Replacing half the flour with whole wheat added some healthy fiber, and a pile of dried oregano in the dough pumped up the flavor. Oregano is the bomb. What made it even better was that it was dried Greek oregano from my own garden. I can't wait to try this again with my own tomatoes! And maybe some fresh basil? I'm looking forward to summer already!

Oregano Focaccia with Tomato and Caramelized Onions
Adapted from For the Love of Cooking.

1 c whole wheat flour
1 c bread flour
2 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar (I used my unrefined sugar again - because it is a powder rather than crystals, I think it works really nicely in dough)
1/4 oz instant yeast (1 package)
3/4 c water(115-120°F)
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 red onion
1 sweet yellow onion
2 plum tomatoes
1/2 c shredded cheese (I used salsa jack, but Asiago or mozzarella would work well too)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the flours, oregano, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Add the water and 1 tbsp olive oil and stir until the dough comes together. Turn out on a lightly floured counter and knead for about 7-9 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Meanwhile, slice the onions thickly and the tomatoes thinly. Shred the cheese, if it isn't already. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 8 x 12" glass baking dish with baking spray.

In a large skilled, heat 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and slowly cook until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Take the risen dough and gently spread it into a rectangle the size of the baking dish. Press it gently down into the dish. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp of olive oil over the dough. Spread the caramelized onions over the top. Sprinkle cheese over onions and place slices of tomatoes on top. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Bake until the bread is puffy and golden around the edges. Serve while still warm!

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