Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Focaccia Ai Pomodorini

I don't speak Italian, or even read it for that matter, but I do know focaccia, and from the ingredient list of this recipe, I'm assuming ai pomodorini means with tomatoes and olives, but who knows? All I do know is that this focaccia is possibly The.Best.I've.Ever.Tasted!!

I wanted to cook a real meal last night since I wasn't teaching, but the kidlets were pleading for spaghetti. Being the fantastic mommy that I am I again obliged. It was then I remembered this focaccia recipe that I'd torn out of a magazine waiting at a doctors office a while back. This seemed just the thing to cure that cooking bug, because boiling water for spaghetti certainly wasn't going to cut it. I had everything I needed on hand, so really it was a no-brainer.

My family are suckers for home-made bread of any kind. A bunch of carbaholic's they are!! I knew that this bread would be met with loving eyes and taste buds. What I didn't know was that this bread would change my opinion of focaccia forever. Don't get me wrong, I like focaccia and all, but I'll never like another focaccia as much as I liked this one.

The recipe comes from Saveur magazine, but I have no idea which issue. I'm reprinting it here so that you can try this divine delight for yourself. Enjoy!

Focaccia ai Pomodorini
1 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. kosher salt
1 Tbs. olive oil +more for oiling bowl and drizzle
2 roma tomatoes, diced small
1/4 lb kalamata olives
Coarse salt
In a small bowl combine yeast, 1 tsp sugar, and 1/4 cup hot water. Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together four, 1 Tbs sugar and salt in a large bowl; form a well in the center. Pour yeast mixture, 1 Tbs oil, and 1 cup warm water into the well and mix into a stiff mass. Transfer dough to a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball, transfer to a well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Oil bottom and sides of a 12" cast iron skillet. Transfer dough to pan, flip to cover both sides with oil and flatten into the bottom of the skillet with your fingertips. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 475. Gently press tomatoes and olives into the dough and sprinkle with salt. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake until golder brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
**I did all of the kneading in my stand mixer with a dough hook. Some believe that this creates a tougher dough, but I've never found that to be the case. Watch the dough and as soon as it is smooth stop kneading. I believe not over kneading is the key in using the stand mixer.

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