Thursday, March 19, 2009

Black Olive Pesto Focaccia

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While rummaging through my cabinets the other day, I came across my old round breadboard wedged between two pans, forgotten for months. Even though board was stained and scratched, it was beginning to develop a lovely old look. Around the outer circle of the board was carved with the word "bread" which is what first attracted me to the board when I saw it in a shop in England. The knife which came with it also had "bread" carved in the wooden handle, but it has disappeared in one of our many moves. Finding the board has inspired me to pull out my bread-baking books for the perfect bread to showcase my newly found treasure.

Along with cleaning out my cabinets, I've been reading guide books and travel essays in preparation for a trip to Italy in September, soaking up everything possible on the lovely countryside and especially, the foods and wines there. Olives and olive oil play a major role in the cuisine of Italy. With that in mind, I've made a focaccia with chopped black olives in the dough, topped with black olive pesto redolent with lemon zest, capers,fresh thyme and grated Parmesan cheese.

This is my entry for "Click" hosted by Jugalbandi. The theme for March is "Wood". Perfect opportunity to weave all these ideas into one post.

Black Olive Focaccia

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup tepid water
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for oiling bowl
1 cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
Black Olive Pesto for topping, recipe follows bread directions

In the bowl of a large capacity bread machine, place all ingredients except the chopped black olives. Process on the dough cycle according to manufacturer's instructions. When complete, turn out on lightly floured surface and knead in the chopped olives. Place in a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about an hour. In the meantime, oil an 11-by-17-inch rimmed baking pan. Line with parchment paper, oil parchment paper lightly. Preheat oven to 400° F. If you have a baking stone, heat oven with stone on rack.

When doubled, turn dough out on parchment lined baking pan. Spread and stretch dough to fit pan. Top with all of the Olive Pesto. Let rest, uncovered for about 15 minutes. Place baking pan on lowest oven rack or directly on stone. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350° and bake for an additional 20 minutes until bread springs back and is golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to to a rack to cool to room temperature.

Black Olive Pesto

1 large (5-6oz) can pitted black olives, drained
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 bunch Italian parsley, stemmed
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon crumbled fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in bowl of a food processor fitted with metal blade. Pulse 3 or 4 times for a few seconds each time until mixture is coarsely ground. You can also use a large mortar and pestle to grind the ingredients. Store in refrigerator up to five days in a tightly covered container. Makes about 1 cup.

Recipe adapted from "Bread For All Seasons" by Beth Hensberger.


bee said...

sooooo delicious!!! thanks for your entry.

Joie de vivre said...

That is a lovely board. Your photo is magnificent. I love how the color of the olives offsets everything. And that olive pesto would make the perfect accompaniment.

Flourchild said...

Wow what a great recipe. I love the pictures too. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

The Duo Dishes said...

Intoxicating aroma while that's baking...we're sure of it.

Liska said...

It looks fantastic! I must try it out.

Pritya said...

Dear Lynn, enjoyed visiting your site. The olives look so rich and beautiful, the dish looks tasty. In fact, I like seeing many of your photographs. Congrats and cheers!

Rajee said...

Sooooooooo delicious and intoxicated.

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