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Caramelized onion & shallot focaccia

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Do the words “Snack Time” bring back memories to you?

The time in your life that comes to mind is probably sometime back in grade school, right? Possibly summer camp many moons ago. If you’re a parent, then the memories might be more recent because snack time is ever present in your kids’ lives.

It’s currently ever present in my life, too. Being as I’m a student in a program that centers around food and food lovers, and all my classes are at night, we are each responsible for bringing in something to share with our classmates at some point during the semester. Out of my four classes this summer, three of them have welcomed this as a ritual. {The fourth class was my wine class, in which we spent the whole time tasting (and subsequently spitting out) wines, so needless to say there was no time for food}. Since I’m surrounded by people who don’t mess around when it comes to food, it goes with out saying that all of the offerings have been delish.

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So….hmmm…what to make when it was my turn?! After much thought, I opted to do a focaccia which is a yeasted, airy bread. It’s basically a softer, less crispy pizza. I topped it with caramelized shallots, onions, rosemary, and parmesan. The flavors that develop from truly caramelizing shallots and onions are like a soft, buttery symphony. It takes a while, about twenty minutes, to fully caramelize but, trust me, you will not regret it.

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Needless to say, there were no leftovers for me to take home that night. This will get devoured at your next Snack Time.

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Caramelized Onion and Shallot Focaccia

adapted from Claudia Fleming’s Last Course via Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

For the Focaccia

3/4 cup (177 ml) warm water (105° to 110°F)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk, slightly warmed

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons (5 grams) active dry yeast

2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt

6 tablespoons (90 ml) olive oil

For the Onion & Shallot Layer

4 tablespoons butter

6 medium yellow onions, sliced

8-10 shallots, sliced

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Make the Focaccia

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the water, milk, sugar, and yeast. Let the mixture sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the flour, salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the yeast mixture and mix well on low. Attach the dough hook, raise the speed to medium-low and knead the dough for 8 minutes longer.

[Alternatively, You can stir this together entirely by hand with a wooden spoon]

Brush a large bowl with a generous amount of olive oil. Scrape dough into the bowl and brush the top with additional oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a cool place until it doubles in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Press the dough down with a floured hand. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Brush a large baking sheet with olive oil, place the ball of dough on it and brush the top with more oil. Set it aside for 20 minutes, lightly covered with a kitchen towel. After 20 minutes, dip your fingers in olive oil and press and stretch each ball of dough. Dont be timid. Rip it up! Cover again with the towel and let it rise for another 1 1/4 hours in a cool place.

Make the Onion & Shallot Layer

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, shallots, and garlic. Keep stirring and cooking, for about twenty – thirty minutes, until everything has browned beautifully and tastes sweet. Come on, do a taste test.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the rosemary. Set aside and let cool slightly.

Bake & Complete

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Brush top of dough with remaining olive oil and top with the caramelized onions and shallots evenly over the dough. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and puffed around edges. Cool it a little before serving, if you can resist. Serve warm or at room temperature.

  1. Albert

    July 26th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    This looks delicious. I want to eat my monitor. Keep them coming!

  2. thegrizzlykitchen

    August 2nd, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Don’t eat your monitor, you don’t want people knowing how weird you really are.

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