Saturday, February 20, 2010

My new classic

Blue Cheese and Walnut Focaccia [Makes 1 flatbread]

2-3 cups all-purpose flour (start with 2 and work your way up)
1 envelope Rapid Rise Yeast
2 teaspoons dried Oregano (leaves)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup very warm water (120° to 130°F)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg

olive oil
1/2 cup roasted red peppers sliced
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbled
(sprinkle with some chopped black olives.)

Assemble your ingredients all measured out first. In large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, oregano, and salt. Stir very warm water and oil into dry ingredients. Stir in egg and enough remaining flour to make soft dough. (I used my hands to mix- but have a piece paper towel handy for when you're done with the dough- it's sticky.) Cover; let rest 10 minutes.

With lightly oiled hands, spread dough in oiled 13 x 9-inch baking pan (I used a deeper square dish that holds about the same amount).
Drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil over dough. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup roasted red peppers sliced thinly and 3/4 cup chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese; press nuts into dough
Cover loosely with plastic wrap (or a towel); let rise in warm, draft-free place until almost doubled in size, about 15 to 30 minutes. (I heated a cup of water in the microwave, took it out and let the dough rise in the microwave with the door shut).

Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes or until done. Let cool in pan on wire rack or serve warm, cut into squares.

Serve with a big salad (and a glass of wine!)

This recipe was so good! It was really quick to make- ie: putting the dough together took about 5 minutes... letting it rest took another 10; the assembly took 5 minutes as during the 10 minutes the dough rested, I assembled the rest of the ingredients and all I had to do was heat up the microwave with a cup of boiling water, spread the dough out in my oiled dish, strew the toppings about freely, cover with a tea towel and stick in the now humid and warm microwave for 30 minutes.

It took 25 minutes to cook almost on the nose. (I could have left it in a few minutes longer to get a bit browner I suppose, but the smell was awesome and neither T nor I could wait. (he fixed the salad while it baked.) all in all a nice meal with a real cool end product. (I had a piece this morning and it's even pretty good cold!)

As I dozed off last night I couldn't help but think up other wonderful toppings- like Brie and pecans and thin cut pieces of pears with crushed chilies as an added spice; or ham or bacon and small chunks of Swiss cheese with a touch of nutmeg in the dough... or even the next time I make those great spicy meatballs (I put on the blog the other day) - with basil and oregano seasoning the dough- those meatballs and a little bit of the sauce would be GREAT on top of the focaccia.
There are so many things you can do with this! You could slice some onions cook them gently in olive oil and put them on top with some Parmesan cheese and some black olives. You could use courgettes or aubergines or tomatoes as well with the onions and some Feta or Gouda cheese. Possibly the only caution would be don't add too much or it gets messy and the dough might not cook properly.

So there you have it- Something I never made when my children were growing up, but will probably become a great homemade family classic, as it was so easy, so "inexpensive" and SO GOOD. (maybe Baby grandson will grow up remembering it as a grandma classic???)


  1. Oh WOW!
    I have walnuts!
    I have some blue cheese!
    I EVEN have a jar of roasted red peppers!
    THIS I am making for tomorrow to go with the (now thawing) chicken for Sunday roast dinner!
    Woot! I'll let you know how it came out!

  2. Jes it looks and sounds wonderful. I can't get blue cheese here as you know, but as you say there are all sorts of alternatives for toppings. I'm going to give it a go.

    Thanks xx

  3. Dear Kitty,
    Good luck and good eating! (Bet it WOULD taste good with roasted chicken...) Glad you're giving it a try, it's even easier to make than I thought it was!

    Dear Ayak,
    I think the onion/roasted red pepper and Parmesan would be really tasty. Because it comes out of the oven as a kind of bread, (mine was about 3 inches high) you need a sharp taste and a mellow one, together with the herb flavored bread, to make it work- i think.

    Good luck to you and I hope you enjoy it.

  4. This looks AMAZING! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  5. As I've mentioned before, this looks great. I will have to try it.

    I have an award for you Jes, because you brighten my day! Happy 101 Award

  6. Hey dear Nina!

    It's really good and in the best of senses it's really REALLY simple to make. (hugs to you sweetie!)

    Dear Cheryl,

    What a little devil you are! Nice way to launch the week...

    I first put my post up THEN went back to the comments... FINE. So I'll be a little late getting my reply back to you...

    Thank you dear heart. You are most thoughtful.



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