This post is sponsored by Cento.
This was the first full week I’ve been at home since early April. I’ve spent the time sorting through piles that have been languishing for months and restocking the fridge and pantry with more than just a few days of food (when I’m away, Scott exists mostly on bananas, hard boiled eggs, and takeout).
I’ve also been finding my way back to more robust cooking projects. For weeks now, when I did dash home for a few days, I’d make a big turkey meatloaf or a pot of chili to leave behind as leftovers before leaving again. That kind of cooking is highly serviceable, but doesn’t really do much for culinary creative satisfaction.
So, with a stretch of available days and a recipe to develop for my partnership with Cento, I pulled out the yeast and flour and got down to work. The result? This really gorgeous and delicious marinated artichoke and red onion focaccia.
This trick of either nestling preserved foods into the top of focaccia or painting the surface with a preserve of some kind is one I’ve turned to many times over the years (you’ll find a sweet version of this recipe in The Food in Jars Kitchen). It’s a great way to use up tasty condiments and makes a delightful thing to have in the fridge or to take to a potluck.
Here’s How You Do It
You start by making a simple dough of all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, instant yeast, and water. I build my dough in my stand mixer, but truly it doesn’t require too much kneading and so could just as easily be done by hand. Once the dough comes together, you drizzle it with a little olive oil and set it to rise.
Once it has finished its first rise, you gently deflate the dough, reform it into a tight ball and let it rise again. I often let it do this second rise overnight in the fridge, but it can also be done on the counter (the fridge does give it the opportunity to develop a deeper flavor, but it will still be good if you’re working more quickly).
Then it’s just a matter of stretching it out on an oiled baking sheet (make sure to create actual holes as you stretch, to ensure it will have a properly pockmarked surface) and arranging your Cento marinated artichokes (I get four slices per artichoke) and slivered red onions on the surface of the dough. I like to place them firmly, to ensure that they’ll stay in place. The stretched and topped dough rises a final time for just 10-15 minutes before baking.
This is artichoke and red onion focaccia can be paired with any number of meals. We ate it the first night with grilled chicken salad bowls. The next morning, I sliced a square down the middle, toasted it lightly, and tucked some scrambled eggs inside. Hunks have been dipped in hummus and roasted red pepper dip. And if you think that a batch this size is too much, know that it freezes nicely as well.
Oh, and if artichokes aren’t your thing, try topping it with eggplant strips, sliced olives, or marinated mushrooms.
Artichoke and Red Onion Focaccia with Cento
- 5 cups/600 g all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 3/4 cups/420 ml warm water 110°–115°F
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 4 Cento marinated long stem Roman artichokes sliced
- 1/2 red onion cut into half moons
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add the water and mix to combine. Once the water is integrated, switch to the dough hook and knead until the dough is stretchy.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Wet your hands and coax the dough into a ball. Coat it with a tablespoon of oil. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about an hour or so. Gently deflate the dough and fold it over itself a few times. Reshape it into a smooth ball and let it double in size a second time (this can be done overnight in the refrigerator. If you choose this route, let the dough return to room temperature for about 2 hours before proceeding with baking).
- While the dough rises a second time, preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease an 18 x 13-inch rimmed baking sheet with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the dough is finished its second rise, turn it out onto the prepared pan. Using your hands, stretch it out to the corners of the pan, making small holes with your fingertips as you stretch the dough. The holes will close during baking, but if you don’t make holes through to the bottom of the pan, the bread won’t have its characteristic craggy, pockmarked surface. If the dough is bouncing back too much, let it rest a few minutes and resume your stretching and prodding.
- Arrange the marinated artichoke slices and red onion slivers on top of the focaccia, pressing them in firmly.
- Let the focaccia rise again for 10 to 15 minutes, just until the dough starts to curve up around the artichokes and onions.
- Bake until the top is nicely burnished and a peek at the bottom shows an even brown exterior, 20 to 23 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the focaccia cool in the pan. Do let it cool to room temperature before slicing, to prevent it from becoming gummy inside.
That looks really good! I’m planning a plane trip soon and I bet this would be good plane food (I haven’t flown for a while and am still wrapping my head around dragging food onto the plane).
This looks delicious! Have you ever tried it with a sourdough-leavened dough? Wondering if the technique would change.
I don’t have a ton of success keeping a sourdough starter alive, so I’ve not tried it here.