One of the side dishes I made for our virtual trip to Greece was pesto tomato focaccia. A Trip To Greece Bread has always been one of my downfalls. They say “man cannot live on bread alone”, but as long as I had butter or olive oil to go with it, or if the bread was topped with other yummy toppings, I really think I could. I could easily live on this pesto tomato focaccia, that’s for sure. It even has vegetables, which makes it even better, right?!
Pesto Tomato Focaccia
Focaccia Starter or Sponge
1 tsp dry active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup flour
Mix the yeast and the water together and let stand for about 10 minutes or until it becomes frothy. Add the flour, cover tightly, and let rise for about 45 minutes. You can also refrigerate this for a day too.
1 tsp dry active yeast
1 cup warm water
3 TBSP olive oil+ more for coating the bowl and topping the dough
The sponge from above
3 1/4 cups flour + more for kneading
2 tsp salt
Add the water to the yeast and let stand just as you did for the sponge. Slowly mix in the olive oil and the sponge.
Mix the flour and salt together. Once the sponge and olive oil are combined, start adding the flour, about 1 cup at a time and mix it all together. You can do this either by hand or with a mixer. Once all the flour is incorporated start kneading it all together on a lightly floured surface until it forms into a soft dough ball. Coat a large bowl with olive oil, and then coat the dough ball with olive oil as well. Cover and set in a warm place for the first rise. Let it rise for about 1 1/4 hours.
Line a baking sheet with corn meal. Start gently pressing and working the dough with your finger tips so it fits into the baking sheet. If the dough does not want to spread right away, let it rest for about 10 minutes, then continue.
Cover and let rise again for about 1 more hour.
Preheat the oven to 400* F or about 200* C.
After the second rise, dimple the dough with your finger tips. Then spread pesto evenly over the dough. I made my own pesto, but store bought pesto is just fine too. After the pesto is spread evenly over the dough, add sliced tomatoes. I used a variety of tomatoes, including Romas, grape tomatoes, sun tomatoes and komatoes. Any kind of tomatoes will work. I like making it with a variety of different tomatoes. It really enhances the flavors and makes it very colorful, almost like a piece of art.
Top the focaccia with shredded Parmagiano cheese.
Place the focaccia in the center of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the dough is done. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before cutting. This focaccia can be enjoyed with just about any meal, or just by itself, at any time of day.
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.