My Master Gardener neighbor Kim keeps me aiming higher, both in my vegetable gardening skills AND in baking. This past rainy day Kim got creative and I have to share what she and other over-achiever bakers are doing, creating beautiful still-life scenes on your Focaccia.
Photos provided by Kim Smith
Focaccia is an Italian bread that is often shaped and baked into a large, flat rectangle. Most lovers of Italian food will recognize it as having a flavor and texture similar to pizza dough, and there are as many recipes as there are industrious Italian mothers. Recipes range from incredibly time consuming to quick and easy, so there’s no excuses for not choosing a recipe and running with it!
1-2-3- Baking Tips:
1) Prepare a good focaccia dough – Like Herb Focaccia. Longer fermentations give the best flavor, so consider making the dough and refrigerating it – 3 hours to over night (you will punch it down in the refrigerator). Shape the dough as directed. It may need more proofing (rising) time since it’s cold.
2) Wash, seed or peel and slice thinly those odd-shaped ripe, small fall red, yellow, orange and green tomatoes, peppers and red onions.
Consider using these other design elements:
-Red onions sliced very thinly
-Mini bell Peppers for a blast of color
-Chives can be used as grass or flower stems
-Green Onions make great flower stems
-Parsley makes lovely leaves
-Basil has such a gorgeous texture and shape. Use them as leaves
-Cherry Tomatoes can be sliced in half and used as flowers
-Olives can be used as eyes, stones, flower centers
-Capers add a touch of whimsy
-Rosemary and thyme look just like small plants or trees
Edible flowers include herb flowers, nasturtiums, Calendula, cornflower, viola, pansy, sunflower and lilac.
3) Brush the flattened and dimpled focaccia dough with olive oil. Arrange the sliced veggies and herbs in a pattern. Bake in oven or on grill– as focaccia recipe directs. Sprinkly lightly with Kosher salt.
Tips from the pros: Choose fruits and vegetables that aren’t too high in water like mushrooms. Cutting ingredients too thinly might result in burned design elements. Dip herbs in water first to help retain their oomph while baking. Try your hand at using spices like paprika or turmeric to create a watercolor painting effect.
Serve hot OR, you can reheat focaccia in a very hot oven for 5 minutes.
For a twist on the dough, go with a Southwest Focaccia that includes cornmeal.
See more innovations with Focaccia 4 Ways