Thursday, July 15, 2010

Recipes: Sausage & Tomato Focaccia

Serves 4

Basic Focaccia
3 cups all purpose or bread flour
2 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
Coarse salt
Ground black pepper

2 Italian Fennel sausages, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano or basil
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
Fresh rosemary


Mix the warm water and yeast into a bowl. Add in 1 cup of the flour and sugar, then stir to combine. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes or so, until the yeast wakes up, starts mingling around and make bubbles appear on the surface.

Add the rest of the flour, olive oil, salt, some black pepper into the mixture to make a dough ball. Knead the dough for a few minutes to work out the gluten, until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Leave to rest in a warm place for about 1 hour, until the dough doubles in size.

While waiting for the dough to rise, prepare the toppings (or you can chill out with a cuppa good java, if you want).

Pan fry the sausages and let then rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into slices. Halve the cherry tomatoes and season with dried herbs, garlic, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Do the same if you're using sun-dried tomatoes. Set aside and let the flavours get cozy.

Lightly oil your hands and knock down expanded dough, getting rid of the air. Knead it a few times and place the dough on an oiled baking sheet. Stretch the dough across the pan to form a large, flat circle or square. Poke dimples all across the dough surface. Place the toppings and rosemary on top, sprinkle some coarse salt and black pepper, and drizzle some good olive oil all across the dough. Let it rise a second time until the dough doubles in size again, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 210 Celcius. Put the focaccia in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes. The crust should be golden brown and the centre slightly soft.

Remove focaccia from the oven, cut and serve while still warm.

This is a great basic focaccia recipe where you can improvise on the toppings and flavourings. Add olives, different herbs, put flavours into the dough itself, or top the dough with cheese. The possibilities are endless, just feel free to use your imagination!

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