Focaccia with Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, and Red Pepper
There’s a bakery and restaurant in Santa Monica called Huckleberry. It has crushing lines most mornings, but they’re worth braving for the fresh-baked goodies coming out of their kitchen. I only discovered Huckleberry about a month before I moved out here, and thank goodness — I ate their flatbreads, absolutely drenched in olive oil, nearly every day before I left. My thighs are thankful that Huckleberry doesn’t exist here, but my mouth isn’t.
I had potatoes going spare in the pantry, so I decided to try to replicate that delicious bread, waistline be damned. You can use whatever toppings you want — leftover beans, squash, root vegetables, sturdy greens, herbs. Just make sure to bake it at rip-roaring high heat. You want squiggles of just-burnt toppings sticking out all over, as if a small house burnt down in your oven and magically turned into focaccia.
Adapted from i.have.a.lemon.tree
This bread was made for leftovers. If it can be roasted, it can probably be thinly sliced and piled on this focaccia.
One warning: even with all the olive oil splashed over it, flatbread tends to go stale quickly. Unless you plan to eat an entire pan of focaccia by yourself (though hey, no judgement here), give some away to friends or freeze it before the second day.
Makes one 9″X13″ to 13″X18″ foccaccia.
5 cups of bread flour, more for kneading
1 packet instant yeast (.25 oz)
2 cups water, at room temperature
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 small onions, sliced thinly
4 small French fingerling potatoes, sliced thinly
3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2-1 cup olive oil, depending on how sinful you’re feeling
fresh herbs if you have them (I used rosemary, thyme, and oregano)
salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups of flour with the water and instant yeast. Stir to combine and let sit for 20 minutes.
Add the rest of the flour and the salt and stir until a loose dough forms. Dust a counter or large cutting board with flour and turn out the dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes by hand. (Alternatively, you can do this entire process in a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook on medium-slow speed for 5-8 minutes.) Add flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking, but try to add as little flour as possible.
When the dough has become smooth, pliable, and springy, transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about four hours, or until the dough is doubled in size. (You could also refrigerate the dough overnight, bringing it to room temperature several hours before you plan to bake it).
Crank your oven to 450°F. Slick a large baking sheet with olive oil.
In a medium-sized pan, cook the onions with a little olive oil and salt over low heat for 22-25 minutes, until slumped and lightly caramelized.
Press and stretch the dough evenly in the pan until it reaches the edges. If the dough starts to spring back on you, let it rest for 10 minutes or so before you go at it again.
Layer the toppings on the dough, leaving a small edge bare: half the onions, then the garlic, then the potatoes, then the rest of the onions. Scatter with red pepper and herbs, and salt and pepper liberally. Pour 1/2 cup of olive oil all over the dough, making sure to completely cover the edge of the dough.
Bake for 12 minutes (for a 13″X18″ baking sheet) to 15 minutes (for a 9″X13″ baking sheet). Rotate the baking sheet halfway and, if you like, slick with another 1/2 cup or so of olive oil. Bake for another 12-17 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the toppings are tender and a little charred.
Serve with napkins and a cold rosé.
Music to cook by: Keep Fishin’ [Weezer // Maladroit]