Spring Onion Focaccia
Seeing the signs of spring is such a heartening feeling. I’m sitting by the window as I write this, and the sun is shining in, and it’s warm. I haven’t felt warm in … well, months I think. I am not made for the winter. I crave sun and dry heat. The irony there is obvious, as I live on the Olympic Peninsula. Seattle, that big damp marsh of a city you hear about sometimes. We get direct sunlight for about 20 minutes each year, give or take. I think even rolling stones grow moss around here.
Spring is exciting for food lovers, because it marks the return of so many fruits and vegetables. Asparagus is popping up, fresh peas are available, and the strawberries are plump and ripe. Spring onions, those cheery little bulbs with their bright green shoots, are spring incarnate to me. Prettier and milder than your typical onion, they make any grocery produce section look like a legit farm stand. They’re wonderful sliced up and added to soups or stir-fries, but I really wanted to celebrate them as a stand-alone vegetable. And what better way to highlight a veggie than on a pillow of soft, warm bread?
I think focaccia was one of those trends in food that has since passed. I never see it anymore. But I have a theory that, trendy or not, nobody can resist this bread. It’s simplicity at its best. Just a basic dough, drizzled with good olive oil and course salt and baked to perfection. Making focaccia nurtures those ancestral memories of Italy I hold in my heart. You may find this to be true for yourself as well, regardless of your heritage.
Why is it good for you?
We Americans like our bread buttered. But focaccia really shines with a good drizzle of quality olive oil. Olive oil is remarkably good for you, containing the healthy monounsatured fats (oleic acid) that aid cholesterol levels, normalize blood clotting, and fight inflammation. In other words, it protects against heart disease in various impressive ways.
Onions are good for you too, as discussed in my Fried Quinoa post. Like all alliums, spring onions are high in anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing flavonoids. Regular consumption of onions has been shown to reduce the risk of various types of cancer.
- 1/2 recipe of Basic Dough (below)
- 2 spring onions (or 3-4 large scallions)
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- fresh thyme, for garnish
- Kosher salt or sea salt, for garnish
- 2 cups warm water (between 105-115 F)
- 2 teaspoons dry active yeast
- 4 2/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- Preheat oven to 475 F.
- Trim the onions of green tops, leaving a small amount of green.
- Using a chef's knife, slice onions lengthwise into quarters. Trim and discard the root.
- Prepare a baking sheet with olive oil.
- Take one half of Basic Dough and spread in to a rough rectangle, about 1/2" thick. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Drizzle the 2 Tbsp. olive oil over the dough and brush out evenly.
- Lay onions across the dough, pressing in slightly, leaving space between onions to allow proper browning.
- Sprinkle with thyme leaves and salt to taste.
- Allow to rise in a warm place uncovered for 10 minutes.
- Bake in preheated oven 12-15 minutes, or until bread is golden brown. Serve warm.
- In a small bowl, combine yeast with warm water and stir to mix. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt.
- Add yeast mixture to the large bowl and stir until well combined.
- On a generously floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Add extra flour a tablespoon at a time if too sticky.
- Coat a large bowl with the tablespoon of olive oil.
- Form dough into a ball and place in the oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Punch down dough and knead into a ball. Return to the oiled bowl and place in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Punch down dough, and divide into two parts.
The recipe for Basic Dough will make two servings. Make two loafs, or save the extra half for later. It will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks.
Basic Dough recipe lightly adapted from Focaccia with Olives and Rosemary recipe, originally published by Bon Appetit, reposted on Epicurious.