This is essentially the product of wanting to order a pizza but not having the money to “pony up” for the exact one that I wanted. Also, the chewiness of foccacia has always been an enticing prospect. So, to the store for some fancy ingredients (prosciutto and goat cheese) and then POW, something truly delicious, handmade, and only slightly healthy. Plus, it’s pretty beautiful, so if you’re planning a dish to impress a loved one or friend, this is a legit show-stopper.
Recipe 4: Caramelized Onion & Prosciutto Foccacia Bread (Pizza)
Adapted from Rustico Cooking recipe: http://rusticocooking.com/bread.htm#mascarponefocaccia
- 3 and ½ cups unbleached bread flour
- 1 and ½ teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 and ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups warm (100 degree) water, plus extra as needed
- Extra-virgin olive oil for greasing the bowl, dough, and parchment paper
- Butter (about 3 tablespoons)
- Prosciutto, chopped roughly (it’s prettier this way)
- Goat cheese, “flaked” with a fork into crumbs (to taste)
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced in half-coins, thinly
- 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
- shredded parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
- Fresh basil, chiffonade (roll up some leaves together and slice into coins, it makes long ribbons)
- 1 tsp minced garlic (or to taste. I add more because I <3 garlic)
So the first thing you want to prepare is your dough. Because yeast is involved, you want to first create your “sponge”, which is basically your yeast dissolved in warm water with some sugar and a bit of flour and left alone until it starts to look foamy. This takes 5-15 minutes, depending on where you live and how warm/humid it is. Don’t add the salt until you already have it into the dough, as salt can kill the yeast when it’s beginning to activate (during the sponge). Add your flour, salt, and olive oil to a bowl and pour your yeast into the mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a rough, shaggy mass forms. Then turn it out to knead a bit until mostly smooth. Put it back into the bowl and cover with a tea/kitchen towel to rise for 30 minutes or until doubled. Once the time is up, you’ll punch it down and knead it, then you’ll grease a cookie sheet and use your fingertips to press it out onto the sheet, leaving those hallmark “potholes” in the dough that so many foccacias have.
While your dough is rising, you want to preheat your oven to 550F and prep your toppings.
This means that you want to soak your basil in cold water (to “fluff” it up a bit and make it more robust for cutting), and prep your onions, prosciutto, and tomato. Slice your onion and turn on your skillet, putting the butter in the pan. Once it’s melted, reduce the heat to low and add your onions, turning to coat them with butter. Leave them to brown on one side for about 5 minutes (don’t turn them before that) and keep an eye on them. Once they’re turning a bit golden, give them a toss to flip them over and repeat on this side. You can continue this process until they are cooked to your liking. At this point, I add my chopped prosciutto and the garlic to crisp everything together. Your kitchen will smell like heaven at this point. Seriously.
Once everything is crisped and golden and emanating deliciousness, roll out your focaccia dough on a cookie sheet to the best of your ability, and use your fingertips to make impressions into it. Then add what is left of your toppings (I know I ate like half of my onion and prosciutto mixture before it cooled) to the pizza, flaking on your goat cheese, and sprinkling on your parmesan. Finally, sprinkle on the basil and pop it into the oven until the edges are golden brown.
**If you want it to look extra fancy, you can mix an egg with a little water and brush that mixture along the exposed crust. It will make it shiny when it bakes and give it an extra “pop” when you bite into it.
Enjoy, and don’t feel bad if you eat the whole pizza.