Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fresh Herbs Series: Thin focaccia with tomato, oregano and fresh goat’s cheese

Thin focaccia with a crust
One’s own herb garden in summer – a bit of a cliché or a trendy fashion? One might grow a few pots of basil, rosemary or thyme on the windowsill or several garden boxes with a wider variety of herbs on the balcony or have the luxury of real beds of land and the choice that it allows. Regardless of the size and the species of one’s expert or beginner´s cultivation ambition undoubtedly the fresh herbs make a great deal of difference on the plate.

Take today, I wanted a light lunch that didn´t need a lot of time or any special ingredients that would require shopping. Some bread, some olives I still had from last week’s market, a few drops of Italian peperoncino olive oil that I got as a present from a friend for the Eurovision Song Contest party and a quick nip of some basil and thyme - et voilà. Apologies, I had to take a bite before I could take a photo.

Crostini with olives, thyme and basil

My summer trend, having different herbs at hand, has become focaccia. Focaccia is very easy to make despite the time it needs to raise. Yet, other than raising the dough, it is one of the easiest things to make.

Thin Focaccia with cherry tomatoes, fresh oregano and fresh goat’s cheese
Freshly baked tomato combined with the distinctive taste of goat´s cheese can be eaten when the tomato is hot, just out of the oven, still slightly warm or cold. The taste of tomato, especially the note of sour and sweet, varies with the temperature.


The dough:
1 packet of dry instant yeast (7g)
1 tsp salt
1tsp sugar
300g (3 cups) flour or (100g whole grain flour and 200g plain flour)
2dl (1 cup) water
2 tbsp olive oil

Mix the dry ingredients and then add the water. Mix everything and half-way add olive oil and mix again all into dough. Use a wooden spoon, a dough mixer or hands and fold for 5 minutes until all ingredients have combined into smooth dough. Form a ball. Lift the ball of dough out of the bowl and sprinkle some oil into the bowl and on the dough. This will help to get the dough out of the bowl easier later. Cover the bowl with cling film and a tea towel and leave for 1 – 1.5 hours in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. Avoid draft as it does no good to your dough.

Set the oven to 200°C.

A colourful focaccia topping of tomato, cheese and oregano
1 shalotte onion
A pinch of salt

More olive oil to drizzle on the dough
A good handful of cherry tomatoes (ca 200g), cut in half
leaves of fresh oregano
Fresh goat’s cheese
Flaky sea salt

Slice the onion and rub it with a generous pinch of salt between your fingers. Drain the liquid.
When the dough has doubled in size spread the dough on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Use slightly wet hands to smooth it. Drizzle some olive oil on the dough and arrange the tomato halves, onion, some goat’s cheese and oregano on the dough and sprinkle with sea salt.

 Bake for ca 15-20 min until a crust has formed.

A feel good snack or an appetizer at a party table