I often accumulate bits of vegetables over the course of the week: a little zucchini here, a little eggplant there. A few tomatoes here, a few peppers there.
Fun Fact: In Ireland, zucchini is called courgette and eggplant is called aubergine, their French names. The veggies get imported from there.
About a month ago I tried making focaccia bread. When I was looking for a recipe, I noticed many of them required letting the dough proof for 24+ hours. Knowing I would likely never have the forethought to plan that far ahead, I looked for one I could make in one day. Luckily, I stumbled on this recipe from one of my ride-or-die food sites, AllRecipes. With this version, I can make the focaccia, start to finish, in a little over an hour.
In terms of toppings, I’ve tried using a bunch of leftover bits of vegetables: I’ve charring some leftover bell peppers, sliced thin zucchini and eggplant (with water squeezed out), and on this particular weekend, I used cherry tomatoes. With a little bit of garlic paste/puree, pesto (I always have a jar in my fridge), and Parmesan, I have a super easy, casual Sunday lunch. And Nora loves it too!
Use whatever leftover produce, cheeses, and meats you have on hand from earlier in the week. Get creative! This recipe is so easy and so delicious, you can’t go wrong.
My altered version of the original recipe is below. Once you’ve tried it out, let me know which toppings made it onto your focaccia.
Quick and Easy Focaccia Bread
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or half all-purpose and half wholewheat flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder or dried minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup hot (but not scalding) water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons garlic paste
- 3-4 tablespoons pesto, jarred
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Topping(s) of choice (optional)
- 1 cup mozzarella (optional)
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Mix in the vegetable oil and water.
- When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Tip: Live in a cold and drafty house like me? I proof my breads in the microwave! I fill a mug about halfway with water and throw it in the microwave for 4-5 minutes. When finished, I open the door, move the mug to the back corner of the microwave, set my covered bowl of dough inside with the mug, and close the door.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F/230 degrees C. Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil, then garlic paste, then pesto. Add optional toppings. Sprinkle with Parmesan and/or Mozzarella cheese. Finish with a pinch of salt and a few cranks of ground pepper.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12-13 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.