Thursday, June 01, 2006

Focaccia d'ail, asperges. fraises & romarin

May certainly is Asparagus month! First there was Blog-Appetit, whose theme this month was Asperge-Fraise [Asparagus-Strawberry] and now Kevin at Seriously Good is searching for Asparagus recipes for his Asparagus Aspirations. The idea is that after this month we'll have a collection of Asparagus recipes for next Asparagus season, when Asparagus takes over the gardens of those lucky enough to have them.

For us city-dwellers, Asparagus is in season as well. Almost every trip to the Greenmarket results in my bringing home yet another bunch (0r two) of Asparagus. Usually I just roast them with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and maybe a little Garlic to preserve their fresh flavor. But yesterday I decided I wanted to do something more interesting.

I have never successfully cooked with Yeast, so I decided now was as good a time as any to try again. In Garlic, Garlic, Garlic, a cookbook the Boy gave me as a Chanukah present this year, there was a recipe for Focaccia that looked simple enough. I used their recipe for the Dough, which worked perfectly, making only one change, which was to add some Cardamon. Next time I would grind the Cardamon Seeds as that is the only way to release their flavor. I made my own topping, taking my cue from Blog-Appetit. Although time-consuming, this is not difficult. Dad loved it and the Boy and I are already discussing the possibility of other toppings.

Focaccia d'ail, asperges, fraises & romarin

1 tablespoon Active Dry Yeast
1 cup Warm Water
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
Salt and Black Pepper to taste (I used a little over 1 teaspoon of each)
Seeds from 4 pods Cardamon, ground
Leaves from 3 sprigs Rosemary, snipped
3 tablespoons Olive Oil

Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup Warm Water and let stand until foamy. In food processor with dough blade, combine Flour, Salt, Pepper, Cardomon and Rosemary. Add Yeast, remaining 3/4 cup Water and Olive Oil. Mix until dough forms a ball. Add more Flour if dough is very sticky. Coat a large bowl (big enough for the dough to double in size) with Olive Oil. When dough has formed a ball, move it from food processor to bowl. Roll dough around bowl to coat in lightly in Oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to double in size. This should take 1 hour.

While it rises, make the Topping:

1/4 + 2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 1/2 cups Asparagus, chopped
1 1/2 cups Strawberries, chopped
10 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
Leaves from 4 sprigs Rosemary, minced
Salt, to taste

Heat 1/4 Olive Oil in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add Asparagus, Strawberries, Garlic, Rosemary and Salt. Stir to combine ingredients, then lower flame and cook, covered, 15 minutes. Remove saucepan from flame and reserve.

Lightly coat pizza stone with 1 tablespoon Olive Oil. After dough has doubled, place on lightly-floured surface and roll into circle the same size as stone. Place on stone and stretch dough to fully cover stone. With the tips of your fingers, press "dimples" (small indentations) all over the dough. Cover with a clean towel and let rest 20 minutes. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon Olive Oil, distributed as evenly as possible. Spoon Asparagus-Strawberry mixture evenly onto dough using a slotted spoon so no excess liquid seeps in. Cover with towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450 F. Place pizza stone on a large baking sheet. Put about 10 ice cubes on sheet around border of stone. Place in oven. Reduce heat to 425 F. Bake for 25 minutes until golden around edges. Place towel or old rug at floor of oven to catch melting ice cubes.

Allow focaccia to cool on cake rack. Cut like pizza and serve warm.

and and and and and and and


Mijo said...

Great idea.

Lady Amalthea said...

Thanks, Mijo. Sorry I didn't have time to make it in time for Blog-appetit.

Ayisha said...

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