Basil, Rosemary and Tomato Focaccia ~ Diane's Vintage Zest!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Basil, Rosemary and Tomato Focaccia

This was the very first recipe that I ever picked out of a magazine, baked on my own, and received rave reviews for.  Yes, this recipe was the reason I turned into the baker of the family!

Then the most terrible thing happened.  I lost the recipe!  You have to understand, the last time I baked this was back in high school, so it was misplaced somewhere in my mother's kitchen or cookbook collection or in storage somewhere...  I tried searching online, but it didn't seem to exist!


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A few weekends ago, my sister called me and asked "When are you going to start baking the focaccia?"  Um, I didn't have an idea what she was talking about because apparently she and our mom had decided that I should bake a focaccia to go along with the pesto pasta they were going to make for family dinner.  Each one assumed that the other had told me that I was in charge of the baking.  That always seems to happen...

I told her that I didn't have the recipe, and she just said, "Oh, I'll send a picture of it to you."  WHAT?!?!?!  I thought it was lost forever!  Hallelujah!

Since I couldn't find it anywhere else online, here's the first recipe that I baked, nearly 15 years later.  :)


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Basil, Rosemary and Tomato Focaccia
From Bon Appetit, August 1995


Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 envelope dry yeast
  • 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 8 medium-size plum tomatoes, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. coarse salt
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, thinly sliced


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Directions

1. Combine oil, garlic and crushed red pepper in heavy small saucepan.


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2. Stir over medium-low heat until garlic is golden, about 5 minutes.


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3. Remove from heat and let stand at least 1 hour. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Note from Diane: The garlic-chili oil isn't absolutely necessary, but it's sooo worth it!  If you're short on time, you could use regular olive oil or a bottled variety instead.  Also, this makes about two recipe's worth (assuming you don't use it for dunking), so next time the recipe will be much quicker!


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4. Pour 2 cups warm water into large glass measuring cup. Sprinkle yeast over and let stand until yeast dissolves, about 10 minutes.  Whisk in 3 tablespoons garlic oil.


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5. Combine 2 cups flour and 2 teaspoons salt in bowl of heavy-duty mixer. Add yeast mixture and beat until incorporated.


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6. Mix in enough remaining flour 1 cup at a time to form soft dough. Beat on low speed just until dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.


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7. Brush large bowl with 1 tablespoon garlic oil. Transfer dough to prepared bowl. Turn to coat with oil.


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8. Cover with plastic, then damp kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.


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My mistake, but I already punched down the dough before taking the picture to show that it doubled in volume.  :(


9. Place tomatoes in colander set over large bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Let stand 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Transfer tomatoes to paper towels; drain well.
Note from Diane: Because I was given the recipe at the last minute, I didn't have any fresh tomatoes on hand.  I used some tomatoes that I had to cut and freeze before my trip, and it still ended up great after salting and rinsing.  :)  Fresh would be better, but frozen is okay in a pinch!


10. Preheat oven to 450 F.  Brush 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking sheet with 1 tablespoon garlic oil.
Note from Diane: I prefer to use a 9x9" (or even 9x13") baking dish for a fluffy, tall focaccia that doesn't have any "crust," you know that part of the bread where there aren't any herbs or spices covering it.  However, my baking dishes were occupied, so I'm showing you the baking sheet method, like in the original recipe.

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11. Transfer dough to prepared sheet. Using oiled hands, stretch dough to roughly fit pan.  Press dough all over with fingertips to dimple.


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12. Sprinkle dough with rosemary, then tomatoes, pressing some into dimples.


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13. Sprinkle with basil and remaining 1 tablespoon coarse salt.


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14. Bake focaccia until golden brown, about 30 minutes.


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15. Transfer to rack. Cool. Cut focaccia into squares. Serve with remaining garlic oil.


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Note from Diane: I like to cut my focaccia in long rectangles, but it's up to you!  Also, it doesn't need the garlic oil, but if you're serving it on its own, it wouldn't hurt!

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This is such a super easy recipe, but really tastes impressive.  Also, I suggest that you toast the pieces very slightly just before serving.  That's why I love using a baking dish!  You still get that pillowy, soft top with the herbs and kosher salt, which contrasts with the crunchy sides.  Mmmmm!!!


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May I suggest that you make a double portion, because the entire focaccia lasted less than 24 hours in our house before it was devoured.  You'll thank me!

What's the first successful recipe you ever made?



13 comments:

  1. Ok this looks so awesome & yummy! Way to go girl. This inspires me to make my own! Visit me sometime at www.homemaker-mom.com

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  2. Oh, wow! That looks amazing. I can taste the tomato now... yum! Will definitely be bookmarking this :)


    Best,
    Danielle
    http://awriterinlove.blogspot.com

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  3. This looks absolutely AMAZING! Huge bread fan here. Thanks for sharing at Marvelous Mondays. Pinned.

    The first successful recipe I can remember making was homemade spaghetti sauce when I was about 9 or 10. My mom started my brother and I early with experimenting with cooking!

    Julie @ This Gal Cooks

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  4. If those taste as good as they look, they must be wonderful. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    Heidi’s
    Wanderings

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  5. The recipe really is great, you need to try it. :) Also, it sounds like my first recipe would go great with yours!

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  6. Yummy in my tummy! Stopping by from the Yummy in my tummy! Stopping by from the SaltTree Social. Granny's Down Home Southern Cooking.

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  7. Your focaccia looks wonderful. I'd love to try it too!

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  8. Wow that looks good! Thank you for spreading JOY and sharing at the Oh What a HAPPY Day party.

    Holly at Not Done Growing

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  9. what amazing taste this would offer yummy!!!
    come see us at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

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  10. This looks so good! And I think the first "real" recipe I ever made by myself that wasn't from a mix or a package was a pound cake. And they're still some of my favorites to make. :)

    You should stop by and add your links to my summer recipe round up! http://lifelovelibrarianship.com/summer-recipe-round-up/

    ~Visiting from Foodie Friday~

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  11. So yummy, my family could live on this! It's my Recipe Feature at this week's Creative HomeAcre Hop, thanks for sharing it!
    Cheers, Andrea

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  12. This looks amazing. Thanks so much for sharing with Adorned From Above's Blog Hop. The party will be back this week starting Tuesday and 8:00PM mountain time. We can't wait to see what you have to share this week.

    Have a great week.

    Debi and Charly

    http://www.adornedfromabove.com

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  13. Hi Diane,
    Your Basil Rosemary and Tomato Focaccia looks delicious, we will love it! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

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I love to hear your comments! And putting in your two cents is always free. :)

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