Easy Focaccia with Potato, Onions, and Balsamic Glaze
Don't let the length of this recipe intimidate you. There are a few steps but each one is very easy. You can turn a classic focaccia recipe into a lovely and versatile brunch idea, appetizer, a side for a light dinner of soup & salad, and a fantastic panini for the next day! This recipe is adapted Food Wishes' focaccia. I altered the toppings with adding steamed potatoes, some red and green onion, and parmesan - then and baked it up. Sliced and drizzled with balsamic glaze - it’s a fantastic combination.
¼cupsemolina flourif not available, ok to use all-purpose
2teaspoonminced fresh herbsrosemary is traditional but this is optional
2 ¾cupsbread flourdivided, if not available, all-purpose can be used
1teaspoonextra-virgin olive oil
For the toppings
3tablespoonextra-virgin olive oildivided
3 to 4small potatoes, par-boiledPurple Peruvian potatoes are a nice color. Par-boiled until just barely tender. They'll finish cooking in the oven.
3 - 4 green onionssliced into slivers (not too thin)
¼ red onionsliced into slivers (not too thin)
3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
flaked sea salt to taste
For the dough
If using a stand mixer: Add yeast with warm water to the mixing bowl and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom, add the 2 tablespoon olive oil, salt, semolina flour, and fresh herbs (rosemary is traditional, but this is an optional step). Mix together on low speed until combined, then add 2 ½ cups of bread flour. Mix on low to medium-low for 2-3 minutes. The dough will be sticky. Add in the remaining ¼ bread flour as needed, mixing again on low speed, until the dough is soft, smooth & slightly elastic - another 2-3 minutes. Add an additional 3 tablespoon olive oil to the dough, in 2 steps - mixing and kneading(with the dough hook) in between for 2-3 minutes. Once the 3 tablespoon oil is incorporated - continue mixing and kneading an additional 3 minutes. Take the dough out of the mixing bowl, shape into a ball, and place into a large bowl that's been greased with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. (or clean your stand mixer bowl and re-use that). Cover with cling wrap (I use a shower cap) and set aside to double in size - about 1 to 2 hours depending on the temp of your kitchen. Skip to the Panning Step
If working by hand: In a large bowl whisk yeast with warm water and allow to sit 5 minutes to let the yeast bloom; whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, semolina flour, and 2 teaspoons rosemary until thoroughly combined. Mix in 2 ½ cups bread flour, using a wooden spoon, until dough is too stiff and sticky to mix.
Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, dusting with remaining ¼ cup bread flour as needed, until dough is soft, smooth, and slightly elastic, 2 to 3 minutes.
Drizzle dough with 1 tablespoon olive oil, spreading oil over the dough. Knead briefly, about 2 minutes, to incorporate olive oil. Repeat with 1 more tablespoon oil. Knead 2 or 3 more minutes to incorporate olive oil. Drizzle dough with 1 more tablespoon oil and knead in as before. If the dough seems too sticky, knead in a little more flour. Knead until dough is soft, smooth, and elastic, 1 to 2 more minutes (7 to 8 minutes total kneading time).
Drizzle 1 more tablespoon olive oil into a large bowl, place dough into bowl, and turn dough in bowl several times to coat with oil. Cover bowl with aluminum foil and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.
Coat a sheet pan lightly with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Turn dough into pan and press gently into a rough rectangular shape using your fingers, pressing out air bubbles. Cover sheet pan loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 15 to 20 minutes to relax the gluten.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon more olive oil onto the dough, spread oil onto dough, and poke 3 or 4 oil-covered fingers deeply into the dough to make dimples all over the surface. Poke holes all the way down to the bottom of the pan. Fill in any spaces with holes until the entire surface is covered with dimples. Let rise until nearly doubled, about 45 minutes.
For the toppings
While the dough is rising in the sheet pan, prepare your toppings. The toppings will shrink a little in the oven, so keep that in mind when slicing them. Par-boil the potatoes until barely fork tender (should still be quite firm). Remove to a paper towel to dry. Slice into ½ in slices. Prep the red onion, cutting in half and using the darkest portion of the red onion, slice into ¼" to ½" slices. Repeat with the green onion, but use sections that have both white and green color - for contrast.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
When the dough is nearly doubled, carefully create your toppings in the pattern you prefer, keeping in mind this will ultimately be sliced into sections. Then drizzle 1 more tablespoon olive oil onto the surface of the dough and very lightly brush it around, taking care to not disturb your toppings and to not deflate the dough. Sprinkle with sea salt and parmesan.
Bake in the preheated oven until focaccia loaf is lightly golden brown, about 15 minutes. At 10 minutes, check for color and move to the bottom shelf of the oven if needed to prevent over-scorching of the toppings. Tent with foil if needed. Monitor the last few minutes of baking with the oven light on - to obtain the color you want. Remove from the oven. Brush 1 last tablespoon olive oil onto the loaf, especially around the edges. Transfer to a rack and let cool before cutting.
On a large cutting board and with a sharp knife, slice into segments and plate. Lightly sprinkle on additional parmesan cheese. Then, in a zig-zag pattern, squeeze on a drizzle of balsamic glaze. It's a pretty pattern to actually over-shoot the edges and squirt onto the plate itself.
Potatoes on focaccia is an amazing thing - with fresh onion or caramelized, then adding other complimentary additions such as blue cheese or goat cheese. I know it's not traditional but the savory focaccia dough makes an INCREDIBLE palette for so many things. If you do have any left overs - make a paninni. Just turn the topping side as the interior side - it will enhance whatever you decide to put in your paninni.