Caramelized onion and tomato focaccia

Are you hosting anyone for Thanksgiving weekend? This month, we’re talking about great party food, and today’s recipe is sweet and savory focaccia from Katie Quinn Davies’s stunning cookbook. This flavorful Italian bread could elevate any party menu…

Caramelized Onion and Tomato Focaccia
From What Katie Ate on the Weekend

Italy is one of my most favorite travel destinations — Tuscany and the Amalfi coast areas, in particular. During my last trip there, I was inspired to work on a recipe for a focaccia bread after a meal enjoyed in Positano. I love the traditional olive oil and salt focaccia but I wanted to come up with something packed with flavor.

After trying out different combos, this one was the winner. Its sweet tomatoes give it a great flavor kick and a bit of moisture; they work brilliantly alongside the sticky and sweet onions. You could add some pan-fried bacon too, if you like.

For nibbles at a party, serve this focaccia torn up into pieces, piled high on a platter and presented alongside some good quality aged balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil for dipping.

Recipe: Caramelized Onion and Tomato Focaccia

2 tsp active dried yeast
2 pinches of superfine sugar
1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing
3 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting fine salt
4 red onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp light brown sugar
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 tsp fennel seeds
9 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
Sea salt

Combine the yeast, sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons oil and 11 ounces of warm water in a bowl, then set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until frothy.

Sift the flour into a bowl and add one teaspoon salt. Make a well in the center, pour in the yeast mixture and stir to combine.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured countertop and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a large bowl that has been greased with a little olive oil and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Set aside in a warm place for one hour or it has until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a skillet over low–medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 12–15 minutes or until soft. Add the brown sugar and vinegar and cook, stirring, for 7–10 minutes or until the onion has caramelized and the vinegar has been absorbed. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.

Punch down the dough with your fist. Turn it out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead for 1-2 minutes. Spread the dough out to form a rough rectangle, then cover the surface evenly with the onion mixture. Scatter the fennel seeds on top, reserving a few to scatter over later. Carefully fold the dough over on itself a few times until most of the onion mixture is incorporated into the dough (this bit can get a little sticky so ensure your countertop is well-floured).

Preheat the oven to 425F and grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Press the dough onto the prepared sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 20 minutes or until doubled in size.

Use your finger to press dimples into the dough, then carefully press the tomato halves into the dimples. Brush well with oil and sprinkle over the remaining fennel seeds, then season with a few good pinches of sea salt.

Bake for 20–25 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thank you, Katie! Your cookbook is wonderful.

P.S. More recipes, including cheese straws and delicious Boursin pasta.

(Recipe excerpted from What Katie Ate on the Weekend, by Katie Quinn Davies, with permission of Penguin Random House LLC. This series is edited by Stella Blackmon.)