This simple dish is so easy breezy and a crowd pleaser every time I make it. Perfect to prepare on a cold grey day when you want the warmth of the oven to cozy up your house a little bit more. Baking yeasted breads can be so gratifying and for some folks can be intimidating at first, don't let fear get the best of you in baking, practice makes better and kneading dough is a great way to get Zen for a bit. Who doesn't need to Zen out every now and then? I think the knead is one way things can go south in making breads. A good gauge is a smooth dough, holds it shape and the one technique that works best for me is that my arms are so damn tired I can't go on much longer, around 12-14 minutes.
I put this together in the late afternoon before I went to pick up the boys from school, prepping the dough which has to rest for 1 hour, allowed me to walk the dog in-between storms or if you wanted to you could prep the toppings for the focaccia. This trio is such a beautiful combination, the sweetness from the onions and pears works great with the blue cheese. I chose a softer/younger blue cheese, they tend to be milder and creamier, and finished the bread with a light touch of honey after it came out of the oven.
Lastly this focaccia is delicious served with a simple salad, I've been making mine with Winter greens from Simington Gardens and dressing with a basic mustard vinaigrette.
Focaccia with Caramelized Onions, Pear and Blue Cheese
Adapted from Food and Wine
1 cup of warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 large Bosc pear, cored and sliced
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon honey
In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast and honey and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of the oil; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining flour and the salt and knead until smooth. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let stand for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add sugar, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Oil a 9-by-13 inch rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the sheet and press it down to fit. Dimple the dough all over with your fingers and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Let the dough rise until puffed, about 20 minutes.
Scatter the onions over the dough. Arrange the pear over the onions and sprinkle with the blue cheese. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the focaccia and bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool. Drizzle with honey if desired.