Saturday, August 16, 2014

Peanut Pesto Focaccia

I saw this recipe on Lidia Bastianich's show on PBS for Thyme focaccia. Focaccia is a thicker crust than pizza and becomes very airy when it rises. This recipe uses yeast. I didn't have any so off to the grocery store I went. This recipe makes two large focaccia. I made one in a glass baking sheet and topped that one with garlic and Parmesan. The pesto one I baked the tomatoes on top and added the pesto afterward. I wanted the pesto to stay bright green.  I have been growing my own Basil and harvested the top leaves. I have made the pesto in the past with all kinds of nuts including pistachios. Pine nuts can be really expensive. Peanuts were on hand this day. If you don't have basil readily available, you can use parsley and cilantro in this recipe too.
Note: I made the pesto during the second rising of the dough.
Peanut Basil Pesto

10-20 leaves Basil and stems
2-4 garlic cloves
4 oz Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

after 2nd rising
In a food processor, grind the garlic and nuts. Add a basil leaves. Begin to drizzle in the olive oil, add the Parm, salt and pepper. Process until there are no big bits of nuts or Basil.


5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 packets yeast
2 cups warm water
1 TBSP sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp.  Thyme leaves (I used dry)
1/2 cup coarse Parmesan
sea salt for sprinkling
ground black pepper for sprinkling
Roma tomatoes for topping
2 TBSP cornmeal for the bottom of the pans

Add the warm water, sugar and yeast into a bowl and mix. Let sit for 5 minutes. To a large bowl add the flour and olive oil along with the yeast mixture. Beat with a mixer until the dough comes together. I add the thyme in this step also. Remove from the bowl and knead the dough with your hands until it forms a sticky ball and all of the flour is incorporated.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cover dough with a paper towel and let rise in a warm place. I used a spot in front of my window. Let rise for 45 minutes. Remove dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Cut in half and either freeze the one of the halves for up to two weeks or make both like I did. I oiled a glass Pyrex and sprinkled the bottom with cornmeal.  I then rolled out one of the halves of dough big enough to fit my Pyrex. I poked holes in it with my finger and topped with olive oil, Parm, salt and pepper. Let this dough rise for another 20 minutes.

Bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes. I followed the same steps for the other piece of focaccia. I let it rise, poked it with holes and then topped it with the Parm and tomatoes. When I removed it from the oven, I topped it with the pesto. We had rather large pieces, but this would be good as an app. at a party in smaller pieces. This is great hot or cold.

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