Monday, March 7, 2011

Focaccia with Caramelized Onions, Pears and Blue Cheese

Foc with onion, pears, blue cheese 5

Hello friends.

It's been a few days since I've posted, cause well, that little thing called life sometimes gets in the way. I've been trying to slow it down a bit and catch up on some reading and craft projects, but somehow between cleaning the house and cooking for 4 or more people everyday those little luxuries never seem to happen. So I've been cooking and experimenting and I've even decided to do some more back to basics recipes, like how to make the perfect hard boiled egg and how to do the same for soft boiled eggs, egg salad, ya know the basic kind of stuff that I realized so many people just don't know to make. So we'll start with eggs and move on from there. Sound good?

Until then, one easy recipe that I think often intimidates people is focaccia. So let's start with that. Here we go.

I made this focaccia last weekend.

I loved every ingredient in the title.

Caramelized onions - check.

Pears - check.

Blue cheese - yes please.

So what's not to like about this? Apparently the smell.

My 14 year old son bounded down the stairs when this was coming out of the oven and loudly yelled:

"Ewww what smells like diarrhea in here?"

Well isn't that nice.

I think it was the blue cheese. You know blue cheese can smell kinda....old sockish.

It may have smelled bad, but it tasted heavenly. I loved this combination, but if blue cheese is not your thing, I'd imagine that gorgonzola would taste just fine too.

Foc with onion, pears, blue cheese 4

If you've always wanted to make bread but haven't got there yet, focaccia is a great way to start. It's really very easy to make and only takes and hour for the first rise.

Make sure you dimple it well, so the olive oil can settle into every nook and cranny.

Focaccia with Caramelized Onions, Pears and Blue Cheese
1 cup warm water
1 pkg active dry yeast
½ teaspoon honey
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 large Bosc pear, cored and sliced
½ cup crumbled blue cheese

In a large bowl combine the water, yeast and honey and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the flour and ¼ cup of the oil, let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining flour and salt and knead until smooth. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, cover and cook stirring occasionally until browned, about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450. Oil a 9x13 inch rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and press it down to fit. Dimple the dough all over with your fingers and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Let the dough rise until puffed, about 20 minutes.

Scatter the onions over the dough. Arrange the pears over the onions and sprinkle with the blue cheese. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the focaccia and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve.
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