Herbed Foccacia with Grilled Vegetables, Portabella and Sun Dried Tomato Dressing
Lots of fresh vegetables available at our local organic market plus our own container garden coming in about this time of year here in Florida so tossing them on the grill to cook adds a hint of smoke and, for this nights dinner, provide the basis for a soup and sandwich meal; the focus of which is freshly made foccacia bread with grilled veggies and a sundried tomato dressing.
We made a mother batch of smoke turkey vegetable soup from leftover turkey meat and stock from a bird that was smoked in cheesecloth on the grill during the Christmas holidays. The leftovers were frozen for future use which now has served the purpose of not only this meal but enough was prepared for several additional serving now residing in containers in the freezer. So, soup and sandwich, toss in a glass of wine, and enjoy!
Equipment/ utensils required: Chef’s knife, cutting board, sauté pan, mixer, baking sheet, mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, outdoor grill, cast iron flat grill
Ingredients: Foccacia 31/2 cups all purpose flour 1 cup warm water 2 tsp. (1/4 oz.) rapid rise yeast
¼ cup sweet onions cut to thin juilenne Corn meal Veggies 2 portabella mushrooms, fins removed 2 tbsp. olive oil 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar Salt Black pepper Red chiles whole Green chiles whole 1 Eggplant peeled and cut into medallions and coated in olive oil 4 oz. Dill Havarti cheese cut into slices. 2 oz. baby arugula ¼ cup sun dried tomato paste ¼ cup mayonnaise 1 tbsp. lemon juice
Method: 1. In a small mixing bowl combine ¼ cup of mayo, the ¼ cup sun dried tomato paste or spread and the lemon juice, a little black pepper and salt to taste. Place in the fridge to wait for sandwich assembly.
2. Preheat a sauté pan to medium, add 1 tbsp. olive oil, and the onions. Cook until translucent and just beginning to get a little brown on edges. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3. Pour the yeast into one cup of warm water and add the sugar. Let sit until the mixture begins to foam.
4. Dissolve the salt in a small amount of warm water.
5. Add the yeast-sugar water to your mixing bowl and using a dough hook and begin to stir on low speed and add the flour, a little at a time, thyme, tomatoes and herbs d’provence. Slowly to combine then add the salt and the ¼ cup of olive oil.
6. Continue to mix with the mixer until the entire set of ingredients are well combined and have formed a cohesive ball. You may need to remove the dough from the hook a few times during this process. If the dough is too wet add a little flour until the dough is firm but not wet looking.
7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead into a ball.
8. Place the ball into an oiled mixing bowl, being sure all surfaces of the dough ball are lightly coated with olive oil so as not to create a skin while resting and rising.
9. Let the dough rise in the bowl in a warm area, covered, until it doubles in size.
10. While the dough is rising, start your outdoor fire, if using charcoal or wood, and prepare the eggplant and portabella.
11. For the mushrooms, remove the fins, place upside down on a plate add a little olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and black pepper to the flesh and let rest to soak in.
12. For the eggplant, peel, cut in ½ inch medallions and generously coat with black pepper and a little salt on both side and let rest to absorb the oil.
13. Polk each pepper with the tip of your knife to create a hole from which steam may escape the pod during the roasting process so that the pepper does not explode.
14. Once risen, turn out onto a baking sheet that is generously coated with corn meal an d using your finger tips press into an oblong shape a little thinner in the middle than the edges. Add the onions at this time to the top of the foccacia loaf. Let this rest for about 15 minutes in a warm area while you preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
15. While the oven is preheating grill the veggies on the outdoor grill over hot fire that was started while the dough was rising. Roast the peppers directly over the hot spot, turning until all sides are charred then remove to cool in a covered container.
16. Cook the eggplant and portabellas on the flat grill until both sides of the eggplant pieces are golden brown. Cook the mushrooms until you see liquid beginning to come out of the stem, then remove and let rest until assembly of the sandwich. Just prior to assembly slice the mushrooms into ¼ inch wide slices.
17. While the veggies are roasting place the foccacia loaf into the oven and cook until golden brown on top. About 20 minutes. When done brush with a little olive oil, let rest and when cool enough to handle cut into 4 inch squares and split for assembly of the sandwich.
18. Smear each inside portion of the foccacia with the sun dried sauce and layer on the mushrooms, eggplant, pepper, cheese, and arugula.
19. Serve with your choice of soup.