Even though we had made a different bread yesterday, that doesn’t mean that we can get away with not feeding our starter. That has to be done once a week, whether or not we bake our standard bread. The down side to feeding starter when you don’t make bread is that some starter has to be thrown away. Rather than do that, we made up enough bread dough for a single loaf of bread, knowing that we’d figure out a use for it.
We decided to go with a simple focaccia for dinner. They are easy, at least once you have the dough, and you can put just about anything on top. In our case, we decided to use up the last of the Taleggio cheese that we had in the refrigerator, and add a few more items, making this recipe original with us. Follow along and we’ll show you how to scratch up a focaccia.
If you don’t make bread regularly, we suggest that you start. It’s not that hard, and you’ll have the best bread in the neighborhood. Failing that, we guess you could pick up a bag of dough they sell at the store for pizza (a secret: we’ve done it, perhaps once or twice, and it’s not bad). If you don’t have Taleggio cheese, we’d suggest using brie. It’ll be similar when melted. We used blueberries because they seem to go with both savory and sweet foods, but something like blackberries would probably be good too. Walnuts, well we believe these are way, way, under utilized in savory cooking. They seem to go with everything, but other nuts would work here, too. Think pipetas, or pecans. Finally, Parmesan cheese, never, ever should it come from a green cylinder.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 450°F. If you have a baking stone, now is the time to use it. Pop it in while the oven heats, and let everything get nice and hot, preheat for about 30 minutes. If you don’t have a baking stone, you can use a lightly oiled baking sheet, but don’t preheat it.
Form dough disk. If you are using a baking stone, shape your dough into a large disk on a piece of parchment. Otherwise, spread it out on your lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover with a towel.
Let rise. Let the dough rise for 30 to 40 minutes, so it’ll be nice and supple.
Top. The key here is to just use a bit of toppings and not load it down with so many that it gets soggy. With that in mind, Tear the arugula into pieces and scatter over the top. Follow with a scattering of blueberries. Now take the Taleggio and with your fingers rip chunks away from the rind (you didn’t think cooking was violent did you?) and scatter across the top. Sprinkle with walnuts and finish up with a quick grating of Parmesan cheese.
Bake. Use a peel if you have one, or the back of a baking sheet to transfer your focaccia onto the baking stone. If you are using a baking sheet, obviously, just pop it in the oven. Bake for 12 to 17 minutes, or until he crust is browned, cheese bubbly, and the berries have burst spilling that purple goodness onto the focaccia.
Slice and serve. Slice as you would pizza and serve hot.
This was a perfect dinner. It always is surprising that blueberries pair so well with cheese and we thought that they would also work for things like nachos (yes, blueberry nachos!). The Taleggio cheese melts so nicely it would be hard to find a good replacement, although as we said, brie would be very close. The walnuts get a bit crunchy and crispy, adding to the texture, while the arugula gets just the slightest hint of bitterness that plays off the sweetness of the berries and is tamed by the cheese. We’ll admit it. We ate the entire thing for dinner, and we don’t regret it a bit. That’s five stars.