Today´s recipe for the Tuesdays with Julia group is Focaccia. This type of flatbread dates back to Ancient Rome and was originally cooked in the ashes of the fire, "focus" means "hearth" or "fire" in Latin. This classic recipe was contributed by Craig Kominiak, the Executive chef of Ecce Panis Bakery in New York City. Back in Septemer 2012, we already baked his wonderful Whole Wheat Bread.
Focaccia, can be described as an Italian olive-oil bread, quite flat and usually round or square-shaped. It has an almost cake-like texture and is often flavored with different olive oils, herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano or basil and it can be topped with a variety of different delicious things such as with black or green olives, olive tapenade, or can even be filled with ham or cheese, or be used as a "dipping bread" or as a "sandwich bread". You can even make a sweet version of Focaccia (I have tried a terrific recipe for a dried-fruit focaccia before) and add cherries, golden raisins, grapes and walnuts, to name but a few examples.
It is fun to bake your own Focaccia and experiment with adding various toppings and fillings. Last Monday, I posted a Focaccia with thinly sliced potatoes, crème fraîche, fresh rosemary and some blueberry syrup. So I took a cue from that delicious recipe and topped today´s Focaccia with butternut squash and sage.
Craig Kominiak's recipe makes three Focaccias. I decided to divide the recipe and make two large Focaccias. The dough is easy enough to make with the usual ingredients of yeast, water, olive oil, flour and salt. After two rises, the dough needs a good 24 to 36 hours "cold rest" in the refrigerator.
Since last week´s Focaccia was rectangular, I baked today´s Focaccia in a large round vintage pie plate that I had dusted with cornmeal prior to baking. For the topping I chose thinly sliced butternut squash on top of a bit of crème fraîche, then added a bit of freshly ground black pepper, French sea salt, some mild Italian olive oil and a few leaves of winter sage.
This simple, rustic bread makes a great partner to salads and antipasti and it is a delicious accompaniment to Italian food. It is also a wonderful idea to cut it into generous wedges and serve with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping or just eat it plain.
This Focaccia recipe is easy to make and easy to adapt. Try adding different herbs and toppings.
To see the other Focaccias as prepared by all the other enthusiastic members of the Tuesday with Dorie group, please do click here.
The recipe can be found at Sharmini´s blog – Wondering Through. "Thank you for hosting today´s recipe, Sharmini"!
Looks lovely! I just had a pizza with butternut squash and sage at an Italian restaurant that I really enjoyed :)ReplyDelete
Thank so much - I just like the versatility of this Focaccia recipe and had kept some butternut squash from the FFwD recipe to put on this Italian bread. My family loves their Focaccia this way.Delete
How lovely Andrea, you have used the dough so creatively! Unfortunately mine was a flop.. it just did not rise in the oven.. dont know what I did wrong!!ReplyDelete
Sarvani, thank you - in my opinion, Focaccia is just a wonderful bread to bake and get creative with. Besides, we have had our fare share of this bread with herbs and assorted toppings, it was time for a change.Delete
Andrea, your focaccia is gorgeous and just the kind of topping I like. The creme fraiche sounds perfect! I love focaccia, but I had made the recipe from the book before and is not my favorite. I made one with roasted grapes that I´m posting tomorrow, and I really want to try this butternut squash version!ReplyDelete
Paula, thank you for the lovely comment - I am looking forward to your version of Focaccia tomorrow!Delete
Wonderful, Andrea!!! After FFwD last week, I know how well squash and sage taste together! Marveous combo for your focaccia :)ReplyDelete
Liz, combining butternut squash and sage truly is wonderful and seems to be appealing in a lot of different dishes/recipes and the FFwD was no exception.Delete
Love the butternut squash and sage combination! One of my favorites! I might have to steal your idea and use it next time I make focaccia...ReplyDelete
Monica, thanks for visiting my blog - I am sure that you will enjoy the squash/sage combination as a topping for your Focaccia.Delete
Awesome! Although now I'm even more unimpressed with my focaccia. ;) Yours turned out so wonderful, and it's fun to get all these suggestions about toppings and stir-ins for the bread. The butternut squash topping sounds really terrific!ReplyDelete
Sara, I look at Focaccia a bit like a canvas and although we really enjoy our Focaccia with a simple topping of olive oil, rosemary and coarse sea salt, some days you want something different and get creative and/or use some vegetables etc. that you have on hand.Delete
The butternut squash and sage look delicious! I always love the pictures which you take!ReplyDelete
Thanks for baking along this week!
Sharmini, thank you for being such a wonderful host today and for the lovely comment regarding the pictures!Delete
You've inspired me! Again. You are right, part of the fun with this bread is the use...so versatile. Good way to use up that butternut squash and very creative. Always love your photos, and I always learn something from your posts. I had learned that background gor focaccia long ago, but forgot, and you've taught me again. Thanks!ReplyDelete
Kris, thank you for the wonderful comment - yes, it was a great way to use that butternut squash and more of the sage that we used for the FFwD group last week. It just looked right and tasted great on the Focaccia - I also wanted to have a bit of color in my life, the weather is just dreadful and everything seems grey out there!Delete
Oh, Andrea - this is beautiful!ReplyDelete
I love making pizza with thinly sliced potatoes and rosemary, so I am sure this was amazing. Did you eat it by itself or serve it with something?
Cher, I served the Flatbread/Focaccia as a first course - we had "rigatoni with spicy pork ragù" as the main course and and an apple cake with créme fraîche for dessert.Delete
I agree, this is very versatile dough but you've exceeded expectations. What a creative interpretation! I'm sure this was absolutely delicious. I still have one squash lingering in my refrigerator from my CSA last fall and I have been struggling to think of another squash recipe. Thank you for the lovely inspiration!ReplyDelete
Thank so much, there was this butternut squash in my refrigerator and I am eager to get my hands on the first "new" vegetables that will hopefully arrive in the markets soon. So what better way "to end the squash season" than putting it as a topping on this Focaccia.Delete
Andrea, Love, love the butternut squash topping…So very pretty looking too! Sounds fabulous!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Kathy! Butternut is wonderful.Delete
Beautiful. Your focaccia sounds and looks delicious.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Geraldine - the Focaccia was indeed quite delicious.Delete
That looks great with the squash. When i first looked at it, I thought it was cheese. I love squash and will have to store this idea in my brain for a try later. Great job!ReplyDelete
Thank you, no, this is definitely not cheese - actually, I do not think I ever bought bright orange colored cheese in my life.Delete
Beautiful! You are really creative with your toppings.ReplyDelete
Thank´s for the lovely comment!Delete
Butternut squash looks great, and sounds delicious. I mostly stuck to the traditional toppings this time.ReplyDelete
Traditional toppings are always wonderful but once in a while it is fun to take the "untraditional route".Delete
The focaccia sounds great with the butternut squash sliced as thin as you sliced it. With the creme fraiche and sage, it must have been delicious. KarenReplyDelete
Thank you, Karen - butternut is colorful and develops a really nice flavor when baked or roasted and together with crème fraîche and sage it tasted like a real end of winter treat. I still hope that the first spring vegetables will start to appear in the markets very soon - today I dared look for that first rhubarb but no such luck, yet!Delete
Beautiful! I didn't make this but will.ReplyDelete
Cindy, thank you for commenting - you will not regret baking this Focaccia and I must admit that I am more than impressed with all the different ideas for toppings from all the talented Doristas.Delete
Andrea, another beautiful presentation. Especially love your unique interpretation with the butternut squash, creme fraiche and herbs. Definitely want to try this in the future. Like you, we thought this dough was very versatile and could easily be re-imagined unique to your taste. Great post and beautiful photography as always.ReplyDelete
Inge and Gillian: I will stop by your blog and take a look at your gf version of theis Focaccia recipe - i am curious to see how you adapted this recipe. And thank you both so much for the wonderful comment!Delete
Andrea, this just looks fabulous. The color is so vibrant and makes me want to have a slice right now. I really enjoyed making this and can't believe that I have never made focaccia before now. I am looking forward to making more and experimenting with the toppings. I definitely want to try this version you made as well as the one with thinly sliced potatoes and blueberry syrup. I hope you are having a great week. I will be back later to catch up with my reading.ReplyDelete
Elaine, thank you so much for the comment. This was a wonderful recipe and I am sure that you will be making this again and maybe experiment with some wonderful toppings, traditional ones and less traditional ones - it is all a matter of personal preference as the possibilities are endless.Delete
This looks amazing. Butternut squash and sage would make a wonderful combination for this! I will definitely try your other version as well- sounds delightful!ReplyDelete
Renee, thank so much - Focaccia just needs a lit "change of theme" once in a while - we eat it quite often and although this is a delightful bread, the possibilities for different toppings are endless.Delete
Wow! Andrea, this looks amazing and sounds out of this world! During the fall I always order butternut and sage ravioli when we go out. One of my favorites. Your recipes are always so inspirational.ReplyDelete
Cathleen, butternut squash is indded a fall/winter vegetable and I am looking forward to the new spring crop of vegetables to finally hit the markets soon. Would love to get creative with spring veggies soon. Thank you for the lovely comment!Delete
Love that vintage pie plate. Even better that you are using it. Your unique focaccia looks very tasty. Everyone who participated in this week's TWDBWJ seemed to love this bread and not mind at all the hoops needed to jump through to make it. I am putting TWD aside until I get this move back to Colorado completed. But I still am enjoying reading all your Posts and will catch up at a later date. Keep baking.ReplyDelete