I mentioned yesterday that we had an impromptu Italian dinner feast with Tricia and her family. And I might have mentioned that I made some Eggplant Focaccia bread.
Turned out to be quite good…a little tough on the edges…but what a yummy combination of flavors!
It was only after about 5 seconds that Tyler and Tessa were holding hands. (They are less than 1 month apart in age.)
And it was only 30 seconds after that when the footsy began.
Uh. Huh. Uh. Huh. These babies didn’t waste anytime getting acquainted.
We had a lovely dinner and a lovely “adult” conversation. I’m sorry I didn’t get any photos from our feast…I was too busy watching Tyler…making sure he kept his paws off Tessa.
On to the Focaccia…
But be forewarned. Photo deluge coming.
1 1/2 cup warm water…not hot, not lukewarm…warm
1 package active dry yeast ($.25)
5 1/2 cups flour (I used 5 cups white, then 1/2 cup wheat…I ran out of white…I recommend all white flour.)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil ($.50)
About 3/4 more cup of water
1/2 white onion, sliced into circles ($.15)
1 tsp olive oil ($.03)
1 tsp sugar ($.05)
1 eggplant ($1.12) $.99/lb from the market on Saturday
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary from the garden
1 garlic clove ($.05)
Olive oil for drizzling ($.25)
Let’s start with the dough. Since it takes a while to rise…and stuff.
Place the warm water in a bowl and stir in the yeast. A tablespoon of yeast from the jar, if you don’t do the packets. Let sit while you get the flour going and get out the other ingredients, 5 to 10 minutes.
Place the flour and salt into a stand mixer or bowl where you will make the dough.
Toss the flour and salt together, then stream in the olive oil.
Pour in the yeast and water and let the dough hook works its magic. Stream in some more warm water (I did about 3/4 cups), until dough ball forms. Let knead for about 10 minutes.
Don’t have a stand mixer and dough hook. Use a wooden spoon and then knead the dough yourself…and get a nice forearm workout in the process.
Dough ball will form…keep kneading until smooth.
Meanwhile, wash the rosemary and the eggplant. Pat dry.
Thinly slice the eggplant. Then place into a strainer.
Sprinkle the eggplant pieces with salt and set in the kitchen sink. The salt will draw out the bitter eggplant juices and they can drain into the sink.
While the eggplant is draining and the dough is kneading, slice the onions. Caramelize them.
Place the olive oil and sugar into a small skillet. Let the oil and sugar heat up, then toss in the onion slices. Cook on high until they look like this…then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Once cooked, chop up the caramelized onions and set aside.
Take the rosemary leaves of the sprig.
Peel a garlic clove and mash it with the side of the knife.
Rub the garlic along the inside of the bowls that will hold your dough, as it rises. Add a little olive oil to the bowl to prevent sticking. Then mince the garlic to add to the dough after it rises.
Add smooth dough.
Cover and let rise about an hour.
Once rise, add the chopped rosemary and minced garlic to the risen dough. Work the spices into the dough and then begins kneading the dough and stretching it out.
Let gravity help you stretch the dough out. Do NOT ROLL OUT focaccia dough. I repeat. Do NOT ROLL OUT focaccia dough!
Pull and knead the dough and place on a greased baking sheet. (Here is where I wished I’d have used my pizza stone. I think the edges would have turned out better if I had used it.)
Dimple option #1.
Dimple option #2.
Dimple #3. Use whatever you like. Make dimples all over your dough. Cover and let rise about 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 as the dough is rising again.
Once risen again…add the sliced eggplants, the chopped caramelized onions, some kosher salt and some drizzles of olive oil.
Brush the olive oil around.
Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.
Remove from oven, slice with pizza cutter.