Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Caramelized Onion and Walnut Focaccia
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a total carboholic. I savour freshly baked bread like people would savour a fudgey chocolate cake and have been known to down an entire loaf of bread in one sitting (on more than one occasion) with just some sea salt, pepper and good olive oil. As mentioned in a post on my other blog, I haven't purchased bread from a store in a long time. I don't bake desserts but I bake bread a lot. There's just something magical about such simple ingredients coming together to create so many wonderful varieties of bread.
When flipping through the book, I made a beeline for the bread section and the recipe for Caramelized Onion and Walnut Focaccia (page 414) jumped out at me.
If you've never made bread before, focaccia is really easy and somewhat similar in technique to a regular pizza crust recipe. The dough does need to rise for an hour on the first rise and then about 35-40 minutes on the second rise so allot yourself about 2 hours from start to finish. There is minimal prep work involved, just slicing onions and chopping the walnuts, but it does take some time to caramelise the onions to perfection (about 35-40 minutes). Seems like a long time, but trust me, it is definitely worth it. You really don't have to do that much while the onions are cooking. You just need to make sure they don't burn and stir occasionally. You can prep the onions on the first rise and cook on the second, or if you don't want to lose momentum, you can do that all during the first rise. I prefer doing this actually to get it out of the way. While the onions are cooking, you can take that opportunity to flip through the cookbook and plan your next dish!
The focaccia itself is a fairly basic one with no extra ingredients in the dough, but where this dish really shines is the topping. The smell of the onions combined with the thyme while it's cooking will make your house smell as delicious as any bakery café. If that wasn't already delicious enough, the taste and texture of the walnuts worked perfectly with the onion mixture. It baked up in my oven in about 30 minutes (my oven sucks by the way) and filled the house with the smell of baking bread.
The taste of the finished focaccia was soooo good. I sliced it into smaller slices and had it alongside some mashed roasted garlic in olive oil and additional salt and pepper. I actually wished that I didn't have an entire dinner of something else waiting for me because if left to my own devices, I would have just sat there eating slice after slice. On the upside, I have tons of leftovers which I will eat tomorrow, slice after slice, until it's all gone.
— Ms. Veganorama
P.S. The plate was purchased from Jeanette Zeis (Vegan Dish). I get asked about the plate a lot. :)