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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mock Foccacia

During the Gallery Hop this past weekend, Michael and I attended the Ace Best of Lexington Celebration  at John Lackey's Homegrown Press Studio + Gallery.  I wanted to take a little nibble to accompany  fried banana peppers (from Columbia Steakhouse) that Flo graciously prepared for the event.

After mulling several options, I decided to make foccacia bread topped with something.  The day before the event, I stopped by the farmers' market after work for inspiration. The usual suspects were all there. Peppers. Onions. Garlic. I was heading down that familiar route until I stumbled upon baskets of deep purple Casey County grapes. They were gorgeous. Although I've seen it done before, grape-topped foccacia wasn't on my radar until I saw those beautiful grapes.  Inspired, I bagged some grapes along with a couple of sweet organic onions and a large bulbous head of garlic.

Untimely mise en place. Timing  is usually my forte. I can rock out a meal for 350 people all the way  down to the last sprinkle of parsley or flourish of snipped chives.  The day of the Ace Best of Lexington Celebration event, I worked all day and simply ran out of time.

Pizza Dough.  Foccacia Dough.  They're basically the same, but treated differently. Ultimately, I prefer Anne Burrell's recipe for foccacia bread.  She manhandles the dough, roughs it up, and tears it apart throughout the process. Unfortunately, it  takes hours to make. Proof the yeast. Make the dough.  Knead the dough. Let it rise for an hour. Shape the dough. Let  rise for another hour. Nope.

I cheated. Shoot me.
I stopped by a local pizzeria and purchased a pound of lovely pizza dough. It was perfect.

When I got home from work, I oiled a sheet pan before rolling out the dough and pushing it into the corners of the pan. I let the dough relax before roughly dimpling it with my fingertips to create crevices and wells. I adapted and combined several methods for the grape topping. After preheating the oven to 400 degrees, I generously bathed the dough with olive oil, allowing it to fill the dimples with glistening puddles.

I showered the dough with sea salt, minced garlic, and minced red onion. As the dough began rising, I scattered caramelized onions over the top before studding it with halved purple grapes. After feathering fresh rosemary leaves over the foccacia dough, I popped it into the oven to bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pan every 5 minutes. 

I pulled the grape-studded focacia bread from the oven, let it cool, and sprinkled it with additional fresh rosemary.

The grapes exploded into the dough, bleeding their purple juices.  The sweetness of the grapes balanced the savory sea salt, garlic, piney rosemary, and candied caramelized onions. Although tasty, I probably needed another pound of dough to create a typical soft and luxurious foccacia bread.

I think I ultimately ended up with an  intriguing savory and sweet rosemary-flecked grape pizza.

Go figure.

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