the recipe for Wild Mushroom and Caramelized Onion “Focaccia”

Cut in quarters and slice to serve

Cut in quarters and slice to serve

Here as promised in Bill’s how to find wild porcini post, is the recipe for Wild Mushroom and Caramelized Onion “Focaccia. ” The quotes are because I’m pretty sure real-deal focaccia is always plain bread with topping and this has many chunks of wild mushroom mixed into the dough. It can also have sundried tomatoes and olives, if you don’t like – or don’t have – mushrooms. Instructions for both after the jump.

For two 9-inch breads

1 3/4 teasp. dry yeast

3 ¼ to 3 ½ c. all purpose flour

@ 1/3 cup olive oil

1 ½ pounds Spanish onions, halved root to tip and thinly sliced (see note)

@ ¾ pound fresh porcini, hen of the woods or other firm, meaty wild mushrooms like blewits, chopped into roughly ½ inch dice

kosher salt

1. Put ½ tsp. of the yeast in a medium-small bowl. Pour on ½ cup lukewarm water and let sit until the yeast softens, about 5 minutes. Whisk in ½ cup of the flour, cover the bowl and set aside until very bubbly, 1 ½ to 2 hours or so.

2. Put a heavy 9 or 10 inch skillet over low heat and when it is warm add a generous slug ( about 2 tbl.) of the olive oil. Add the onions, cover and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are well wilted. Uncover and keep cooking, stirring more and more often, until the onion shreds are deep gold and much reduced, about 45 minutes. Scrape them out of the pan and set aside.

3. Add a similar slug of oil to the pan , add the mushrooms and cook over low medium heat , stirring often, until they are thoroughly cooked and well-browned, about 20 minutes. They may stick a bit at first but usually come loose as they cook. Set aside to cool.

4. When the yeast mixture is foamy, start another one. Put the remaining 1 ¼ tsp. yeast in a large bowl, add ½ cup lukewarm water and let soften. Whisk in the foamy stuff and ½ cup more lukewarm water. Stir in 1 ½ cups of the flour to make a soft, sticky batter/dough. Cover and let rise until double, @ 1 hour.

5. Stir down the dough, stir in 2 tbl. of the olive oil and ¾ tsp. salt. Work in enough additional flour to make a soft dough that leaves the sides of the bowl but is still quite sticky – this will take about 1 cup, maybe a little more. Generously flour a work surface, turn out the dough on it and cover with the overturned bowl. Let rest 10 minutes. While you’re waiting, oil the sides of two 9-inch cake pans and sprinkle the bottoms with cornmeal.

6. Sprinkle the dough with flour, then roll very thin into a roughly 16 inch rectangle. Sprinkle with more flour as necessary to keep the pin from sticking; lift edges and flour beneath ditto. Spread half of the mushroom pieces over the whole surface and press them in gently with your palm. Fold the dough in half to enclose the mushrooms. Spread surface with half of the remaining mushrooms, press them in and fold again. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms.

7. Cut the dough package in half. Gently press each half into a more or less level shape (it’ll be more square than circular) and put them in the pans. Spread a single layer of onion shreds on the tops. Cover and let rise until fully double, about an hour.

8. Heat the oven to 450, put in the breads and bake until richly browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Cool whatever isn’t eaten immediately on wire racks.

onion note: This makes about 1 ½ cups of caramelized onion, about 3 times what you need for the recipe. Reasons: It’s easier to make a large quantity than a small one. Caramelized onions, which keep very well in the fridge, are delicious in all sorts of dishes from scrambled eggs to roasted winter squash. And cooking them takes approximately forever so it pays to put the time to good use.

Mediterranean “Focaccia” with Dried tomatoes, Black Olives and Caramelized Onions

Substitute a mixture of ½ cup each chopped dried tomatoes and oil cured black olives for the cooked mushrooms. You can sprinkle some rosemary on top with the onions if you want – at this point I myself would be delighted if I never saw another spring of the stuff.

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