Loaded Garden Focaccia

Aug 2019

Sinkology is proud to present Emily Schuermann, our food-loving guest blogger who runs Food for a Year. Emily is here to share some recipes she has created exclusively for the Sinkology blog that reflect her view of a copper sink: simple, timeless, affordable, and beautifully rustic. 
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This recipe highlights some of the very best of summer – garden-fresh vegetables! Whether from your garden, a local farmer’s market or your neighborhood grocery store, this time of year is prime for fresh, beautiful and flavorful produce.

As I was working in my garden – doing all the things (pulling weeds, killing squash bugs, propping loaded pepper plants AND harvesting veggies), my mind started to wander through all the recipe possibilities that sat in my little basket of freshly harvested summer veggies.

I could make a yummy garden veggie soup, or vegetable lasagna or a quick ‘bells and whistles’ garden salad. But as I picked the most beautiful “Little Fingers” Italian eggplant, inspiration struck.

“How about loaded focaccia?” I could make the dough, slather it in oil and then top with with every little thing I’ve just picked! So off I headed to the kitchen.

I made my own focaccia dough using my time-tested pizza dough recipe (you can find that recipe HERE). Making my own dough allowed me to choose the size of my focaccia bread but you can also buy pizza dough at your local pizzeria or use store bought (I’ve heard very good things about this brand and this GF brand).

While my dough was rising, I began thinly slicing and chopping my freshly picked veggies and greens and preparing my herbs. You may be looking at this photo thinking – “Half of that doesn’t even belong on the top of focaccia bread!”. But that’s what makes this recipe so awesome – you can literally make it ‘your way’. Just use what you love, is handy and looks beautiful!

I decided to push the boundaries a little by adding diced eggplant and chopped rainbow chard to my more traditional toppings of fresh sweet shallots and red onions, three types of tomatoes and a variety of sweet and hot peppers. (Pushing the boundaries insures I don’t have to share with my kiddos! They are ‘no-go’ or eggplant and chard)

The key to producing a well baked, crispy-edged focaccia is THINLY slicing the tomatoes, onions and peppers and using a small dice for the eggplant so that the moisture within the vegetables doesn’t overwhelm the focaccia dough, creating a soggy mess.

Three tips for maximizing the flavors in this Loaded Garden Focaccia ::

  1. Brush the top of the dough with a thin layer of Dijon mustard before layering all the toppings. This secret ingredient adds the perfect amount of zip!
  2. Top the veggies with a generous helping of crumbled goat cheese
  3. Add a few dollops of your favorite Arrabbiata sauce

This combination of vegetables roasted atop the focaccia was magical this crisp focaccia. There were bites of fresh earthiness thanks to the herbs and greens and pops of acidic sweetness from the roasted tomatoes. Then, every so often, I’d catch the heat from a hot pepper. The briny goat cheese crumbles and whisper of Dijon mustard perfectly rounded it all out!

This simple meal was a real salute to all the fresh flavors of summer!

Loaded Garden Focaccia

  • 12-16 oz pizza dough* (homemade or store bought)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, THINLY sliced
  • 1/2 c eggplant, finely diced
  • 1-2 shallots (or 1 small sweet onion), thinly sliced
  • 2-3 sweet and/or hot peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 c rainbow chard (not packed), cut into thin ribbons
  • 6-8 sweet basil leaves, chopped
  • 2-3 springs thyme, de-stemmed
  • 2-3 T chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c Arrabbiata sauce**
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled (or your favorite semi-hard cheese)
  • 2 T Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 4T cooking oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 2 T olive oil (to be used after baking)
  • flaky sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400°.

Coat a 12″x17″ rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil. Prepare dough according to your favorite recipe or package instructions, placing dough on the oiled baking sheet.

Flip the dough to coat with oil and stretch and press dough out to a thickness of 1/2″-1″. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 10 minutes.

Brush a thin layer of dijon mustard over the dough. (optional)

Arrange garden vegetables, greens and herbs according to your preferences.

Top with a few dollops of Arrabbiata** sauce and the crumbled goat cheese.

Bake in the oven for 15-22 minutes (depending of the thickness of your dough). Baking is complete when the edges are light golden and crisp and the center is firm when gently pressed.

Brush edges with olive oil and drizzle remaining olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve.

Serves 8

*The amount of dough needed is dependent on the size you’d like to serve. I used 16 oz for the recipe pictured.

**Or your favorite pizza sauce.

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