Sunday, June 24, 2018
Cooking

#CookClub recipe No. 20: Cherry Tomato Focaccia

I know I might be asking a lot of you, but #CookClub recipe No. 20 calls for making your own bread dough. With yeast. It needs to rise for an hour. Twice.

But Cherry Tomato Focaccia is worth the effort. It's gorgeous and delicious, plus there's plenty of room for tinkering. You'll know what I mean when you read the accompanying recipe.

(If you're nervous about using yeast, watch this week's #CookClub video at tampabay.com/cooking. I show you how to make sure the yeast you're using is still good. Dead yeast = flat bread.)

Cherry Tomato Focaccia is a vegan recipe, though one of my colleagues immediately said she would toss some grated cheese on the dough. That would make it vegetarian.

Here are a few tips about the recipe. The first time I made it, I didn't press the halved tomatoes into the dough, but gently placed them on top. That resulted in them falling off when I cut into the cooked bread. The next time, I pushed them in a bit more assertively and they stayed put.

Also, I was a bit concerned that there was too much olive oil topping, so I left some in the bowl. I should have used every last drop. You'll want all the flavoring the mixture imparts. A sprinkling of sea salt after it has baked was a good idea, too.

I'll be curious to see how you will put your own spin on it.

Join us online!

To participate in #CookClub online, the key is to remember #CookClub because that's how you'll tag everything. You'll have two weekends to make the recipe and post a photo on Instagram.

Post photos and comments about Cherry Tomato Focaccia by 6 p.m. July 20. Some of the photos and comments will be printed July 23 in the Taste section of the Tampa Bay Times.

As part of the #CookClub conversation, join us from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursdays for a live #CookClub chat on Twitter.

Contact Janet K. Keeler at [email protected] or (727) 893-8586. Follow @RoadEats.

* * *

>Cherry Tomato Focaccia

Post photos and comments on Instagram by July 20

¼ cup shelled, roasted pistachios

¼ cup olive oil, plus more for greasing baking sheet

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

3 ½ cups bread flour

1 tablespoon sugar

2 ½ teaspoons fast-rising yeast (one package)

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/4 cups water, plus 2 tablespoons

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (see note)

Chop pistachios so that most of the nuts are in fine pieces. You'll want to leave some of the pieces larger for texture and crunch on the finished focaccia. Transfer to bowl and stir in oil, garlic and rosemary. Set aside.

Stir together flour, sugar, yeast, salt and 1 ¼ cups water in bowl. Knead dough in bowl for 5 minutes. Cover bowl with towel and let rise 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Generously grease rimmed 11- by 15-inch baking sheet with oil. Stretch dough into rectangle to fit pan. Cover with towel and let rise for another hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Dimple dough with fingertips. Whisk 2 tablespoons of water into pistachio mixture and brush onto dough. Press tomato halves, cut side up, into dough. Bake 15 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top and bottom.

Serves 8.

Note: A combination of yellow and red cherry or heirloom tomatoes makes an attractive presentation.

Source: Farmer's Market Cookbook, Vegetarian Times special publication, summer 2014

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