Grilled Vegetable Focaccia
What I'm about to tell you will revolutionize your backyard barbecues this summer: pizza on the grill. Imagine, lazy afternoons sipping cocktails with friends and watching the fire danceno hot kitchen required. Unless you count the bread machine that does much of the prep work for the focaccia.
Focaccia is a rustic flat bread that hails from the Etruscan region of Italy, and was popular centuries before the much-loved Neopolitan pizza ever hit the flames. Seasoned with coarse salt, herbs, olive oil, and covered with a handful of bold ingredients, this flatbread is a template for infinite variation.
I've included my favorite Mediterranean flavors here. The onions, garlic, potatoes, and tomatoes go soft and sweet when slow roasted on the grill. The olives, capers, and herbs come at the end, bright and salty.
This recipe uses a barbecue grill to roast the vegetables beforehand and later to finish toasting the focaccia. If you don't have a bread machine, you can try this no-fuss focaccia recipe. The dough comes together in a flash and works on the grill as well. Follow the recipe up to the point of letting the dough rise, then proceed with the grilling instructions below.
Grilled Vegetable Focaccia
Makes 4 thin crust 6-inch pies
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 whole head garlic, cut top pointy part off the head to expose a bit of each clove
3 medium Yukon Gold or red skinned potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup black kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1 tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram), loosely packed
Place the red onion, garlic, potatoes, and tomatoes in a small roasting pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons olive oil over assembled vegetables. Season with herbs and coarse salt. Cover and slowly cook on the grill over a low heat for about 1.5 hours. Cook just until the vegetables are caramelized and tender. Remove from grill. Scoop the garlic from the head. Set aside.
Dough (for the bread machine)
Makes 2 pounds of dough
1 1/2 cups warm water (between 80-90F)
1 teaspoon honey or sugar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup spelt flour
2 teaspoons active dry, instant, or bread machine yeast
Place all ingredients, in the order listed, in the bread pan fitted with the kneading paddle. Place the bread pan in the bread maker. Select the Dough cycle. Press Start to mix, knead, and rise (this takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes in my bread machine). When the cycle is done, remove dough from the pan, punch to deflate and allow the dough to rest 15 minutes.
Brush 4 large (at least 10-inches long) pieces of parchment with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal or semolina. After the dough has rested, use a dough scraper or a sharp knife to divide the dough into four pieces. Roll each one out on a lightly floured surface and place on a piece of prepared parchment. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Twenty minutes before the dough is done resting, light the barbecue grill and preheat to medium-high heat. When the dough is ready, remove the plastic wrap and discard. Slide one piece of the parchment-lined dough onto a baking tray or cutting board to transfer it to the grill. With oiled fingertips, press indentations into the dough about 1 inch apart and 1/2-inch deep. Place the dough on the grill, oiled side down, and remove the parchment. Grill one side of the focaccia about five minutes or just until the dough firms up and browns slightly. Using tongs, turn focaccia over, brush top lightly with olive oil. Leave the grill uncovered, add toppings, and cook another 5 minutes until bottom is deep brown and bread is cooked through (repeat for each round of dough).
Remove cooked focaccia from the grill and place on a cutting board. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, olives, capers, salt, and fresh herbs. Cut into slices and serve warm.
This post is part of the BlogHer Light & Fresh Summer Grilling series, which includes 100 percent editorial content presented by a participating sponsor. Our advertisers do not produce editorial content. This post is made possible by Michelob ULTRA Light Cider and BlogHer.