Monday, July 30, 2012

Quick Focaccia with Squash Blossoms

I still remember the scent of yeasty-goodness wafting out into the street in Florence. It drew you into the little cafe-style focaccia house. Packed with both those sipping espresso and those indulging in a hefty slice of focaccia- it was my slice of heaven.

My eyes were drawn towards the focaccia adorned with gorgeous orange flowers. The small slices of zucchini layered beside it gave away the blossom's heritage.

I still dream of that cafe and of that focaccia.

Yesterday I picked up a package of squash blossoms at the farmer's market and I immediately thought of that focaccia.

I decided that we had to make it. Now. We had nothing else to do this cool summer morning with the kids. So I used the quick-rise yeast and we had squash blossom focaccia within the hour- and in our bellies.

I won't lie, I do think that a long rise with traditional yeast makes the best focaccia (regardless of what the experts say!) but this was a great standby for when you want to make something quick.

If you want another delicious squash blossom recipe, here it is:

Quick Focaccia with Squash Blossoms
If you don't have squash blossoms, you can get a similar flavour by thinly slicing zucchini. Great with a hearty soup or salad.

1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp quick-rise yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2- 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1. Mix yeast with 1 cup flour in medium mixing bowl. Add sugar, salt and stir until thoroughly mixed.
2. Add warm water and oil. Stir well. Add remaining 1- 1 1/2 cups flour and mix well, knead at end for a few minutes until springy.
3. Place in well-oiled or parchment-lined 9" cake pan. Press down with fingertips to make "dimples" in the dough. Cover with cloth or plastic wrap and let rise for at least 15-20 minutes- longer is ok.

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp coarse salt
squash blossoms (rinsed and hard bottoms cut off) or thinly sliced zucchini

4. Drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil over focaccia. Press garlic into oiled bread. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt.
5. Arrange halved squash blossoms or zucchini over bread. Drizzle with remaining 1 tbsp oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt.
6. Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes. Eat immediately with oil and balsamic vinegar.