Rosemary Olive Oil Focaccia with Caramelized Onions…A Great Side for Italian Dishes

By Jodee Weiland

Being Italian and loving Italian food makes me want to know how to cook all types of Italian dishes, not just the ones I grew up eating in our family home. We did have a wide variety of family recipes for everyday meals, as well as holidays and special occasions, but there were a few I had when out to eat at a favorite Italian restaurant or when we toured Italy several years ago.  One side to any Italian meal that I enjoy is Focaccia Bread.

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It is almost like pizza because you can make it so many different ways.  The bread itself is crusty on the outside and like thick crust pizza dough on the inside. I especially love rosemary and olive oil with focaccia or any Italian loaf bread.  That’s why I decided to make my own version of focaccia.  After trying different recipes, I made my own recipe for focaccia adding on what I thought would be delicious, and it is.  I made Rosemary Olive Oil Focaccia with Caramelized Onions.

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Rosemary Olive Oil Focaccia with Caramelized Onions…A Great Side for Italian Dishes

 

3 and 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2  teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 and 3/4 cups warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for pan preparation and to sprinkle over top prior to baking
1 and 1/2 to 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary finely chopped
1 medium onion thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
Freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese to taste
Coarse sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare parchment paper for baking sheet by brushing it lightly with a touch of olive oil.

In a small mixing bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast and a pinch of sugar with 1/2 cup of warm water, that is water that is warm to the touch, about 100 degrees. Stir this and let it rest for about 10 minutes until it becomes foamy.

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Then in a large mixing bowl, gradually blend together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and water mixture, 2 tablespoons of olive oil (leave remaining 1 tablespoon for caramelizing onions), and remaining water as you begin to work this with your hands into a dough. At first, you may blend the ingredients with a spoon, but as it thickens you will work it with your hands. Once your dough is all blended, continue to work the dough with your hands and begin to knead the dough for about 8 minutes. Do this on a flat surface, where you will add flour as you go to the surface to keep your dough from sticking.

 

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Once done, place your ball of dough into a bowl, smoothing a touch of olive oil over the dough.  Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap for about 20 to 30 minutes and let it rest.  It should double in size.

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While the dough is resting, brown and sauté to taste the onion slices in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to caramelized your onions.  Remove fresh rosemary leaves from stems and finely chop, about 1 and 1/2 to 2 teaspoons.

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When the dough is ready, turn it out on to the prepared parchment covered baking sheet.  Press into an oval or rectangle, whichever you prefer, to about one inch thick.  With oiled fingertips, make indentations all over the top of the bread, each about one inch apart. Using your fingers again, brush the entire surface lightly with olive oil. At this point very lightly sprinkle coarse sea salt across the bread top, if you want.  Cover loosely with plastic once again and let rest for an additional 30 minutes.

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Now spread caramelized onions over top of bread, and then sprinkle the finely chopped fresh rosemary over the top.  Once done, freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese can be sprinkled across the top to taste.

Place the bread in the oven and bake until lightly brown at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

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This Rosemary Olive Oil Focaccia with Caramelized Onions is a wonderful side to any Italian dish or even just by itself with a nice glass of Chianti or Sangiovese. The crust is just crusty enough with the inner bread much like the good pan pizza we love so much. The onions, rosemary, and freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese sprinkled across the top gives this focaccia bread a rich flavor that enhances your meal and adds just that special touch of flavor we so enjoy. Focaccia bread will always bring back memories of good meals shared in the past. Try it and I feel certain you will enjoy it as much as we do. Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Rosemary Olive Oil Focaccia with Caramelized Onions…A Great Side for Italian Dishes

  1. AS USUAL, LOOKS YUMMY. I MIGHT USE BASIL INSTEAD OF ROSEMARY, BUT THAT’S ME. I PREFER BASIL AND KALAMATAS. IT DEPENDS ON WHAT ELSE I’M EATING AT THE TIME. CHICKEN? DEFINITELY ROSEMARY.

    • This focaccia recipe can easily be used with any toppings you choose. Basil and kalamatas is a great choice as well. I will be doing other variations in the future. Be sure to watch for them. That’s why I love this recipe so much…it’s so easy to change the toppings whenever you like. Enjoy!

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