For this week’s installment of What’s Cooking, World? I’m proud to introduce you to Nina of Confessions of a Bake-a-HOLIC! I’ve been following Nina’s blog for a couple of months. Even though I haven’t been baking a lot lately, her blog is an inspiration and a great source of recipes for baked goods and beautiful photography. Please put your hands together for Nina and her delicious looking Focaccia recipe.
I am an avid follower of Ben’s blog – Whats Cooking Mexico?. One thing that clearly stands out in his blog is his ability to relate to the end reader and provide a wealth of valuable information. His blog gives you a whole new perspective on not just the food but the culture and tradition. Through his blog I have come to believe that there is much more to a food blog than just food. He is one of my favorite bloggers and It is entirely my privilege to write a guest post for him.
I have been thinking for a while on what to exactly write for Ben’s blog. I was in a dilemma on whether to do something Mexican or something different. Ben being the master of Mexican cuisine, I decided to stick with something more comfortable – baking Bread.
Focaccia is a very a common Italian bread. The savory versions are more popular and is usually topped with rosemary,oregano,sage,garlic,olives,onions etc. It looks similar to a pizza in terms of texture and looks. The basic ingredients are flour,olive oil,yeast,salt and water. Various versions of this bread can be found across the world. The bread is fairly plain from inside and a spicy topping helps to balance the taste well.
One day I was in the process of making Sweet Grape Focaccia. I had this craving for something spicy. Hence the sweet became the savory Focaccia. I had some left over sauteed vegetable made with Onions, Peppers and Tomatoes from the previous night….thus happened the Spicy Focaccia with Onion & Bell Pepper topping:) This by far has been our favorite topping at homeJ
SPICY FOCACCIA WITH ONION & BELL PEPPER TOPPING
2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon chili flakes
- 3 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil ( to brush on the bread)
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoon warm water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion sliced
- 1 large bell pepper( any color would do, but red looks better)
- 1 teaspoon Chili flakes( increase or decrease as per our spice levels)
- salt as per taste
- a tablespoon chopped cilantro
- Spring onions ( just a little for garnishing) – optional
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix flour, yeast, chili flakes, salt and olive oil(3 tablespoon) . On low speed add warm water little by little( you might not need all of the water). When the dough starts to come together increase it to medium speed. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough from the sides. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic.( If you think it is sticky add just a tablespoon of flour at a time and mix).
- Turn the dough to a work surface, knead a bit. Form the dough into ball,flatten a little and place it in an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire dough. Cover with a plastic wrap and let rest for about an hour. Roll the dough as per your choice – into a round or rectangle . I just used my hands to flatten the dough. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Cover and let rise for another 40 minutes.
- In the meanwhile work on the topping. In a large pan, add oil and saute onions until transparent. Add in the sliced peppers and cook for about five minutes. Do not overcook, retaining its crunchiness makes a difference. Sprinkle salt,chili flakes and cilantro.Mix well. Set aside.
- Preheat oven at 350F.Uncover the dough and with fingertips make dimples all over it. Brush with a teaspoon of olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned. Spread the filling on the bread. Bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Cut into rectangles, garnish with spring onions. Serve warm. Buon Appetito!