Focaccia with Prosciutto, Sage and Caramelized Onions
This focaccia tastes best when eaten the day it is baked, but you can make the dough the day before and slip it into the refrigerator for the first rising. Typically, focaccia is an accompaniment, but this version is hearty enough to be the centerpiece of the meal. Serve it at room temperature with a tossed green salad or sautéed spinach mixed with raisins and pine nuts.
- 1 package (2 1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water (110°F)
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
- 2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 thick slice prosciutto, about 1/4 lb., cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 12 fresh sage leaves, torn into small pieces
To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in 2 cups of the flour, the 1/2 tsp. salt and the 2 Tbs. olive oil to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead, adding the remaining flour as needed, until the dough is soft, smooth and slightly sticky, about 10 minutes.
To make the dough with an electric mixer, in the 5-quart bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the flour, the 1/2 tsp. salt, and the 2 Tbs. olive oil. Place the bowl on the mixer, attach the dough hook and knead on medium speed, adding the remaining flour as needed, until the dough is soft, smooth and slightly sticky, about 10 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball, transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat with the oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, about 1 hour. Alternatively, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Meanwhile, in a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 1 tsp. olive oil. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a small bowl. Add the onions and sugar to the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly caramelized, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
If making the dough by hand, punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the prosciutto and sage leaves into the dough until incorporated.
If making the dough with an electric mixer, punch down the dough and place in a clean 5-quart bowl. Attach a clean dough hook. Add the prosciutto and sage leaves and knead into the dough until incorporated.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled 8-inch square baking pan. Using your fingers, stretch the dough so it evenly covers the bottom of the pan. Cover the dough loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
Brush the dough with olive oil, top evenly with the caramelized onions and season with salt. Bake until lightly browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).