I’ve started to notice a pattern whenever my boyfriend comes back from visiting his family during the holidays. He tends to come back with a variety of frozen foods in a selection of motley castoff Tupperware, an assortment of leftovers in quart sized zip lock bags (for Christmas he had half a dozen salad ingredients all individually bagged?) and he ALWAYS comes back with a store bought focaccia. The store bought focaccia is usually shaped like a mini pizza and will have a variety of grilled vegetables like onions and peppers. I don’t mind the store bought focaccia, it’s actually NOT bad, however I do usually find myself loading it up with extras like parmesan cheese, garlic salt & red pepper flakes, just to kick the flavor up a little. So, it had me thinking a little- what do I like about the focaccia? The grilled/sautéed onions. What do DISlike about the store bought focaccia? A noticeable absence of cheese and spices. So randomly one day, while we were snowed in I asked, “do you want me to make focaccia?” The answer was a resounding “YES” so I got to making the focaccia.
Here in Staten Island we are fortunate to have many Italian specialty food shops the majority of which sell ready made pizza dough packaged in bags for 99 cents each. Since I have no intention of messing with yeast or the process of resting the dough, etc., I just purchase the 99-cent dough. I usually buy a few at a time and freeze them. I like to get whole wheat, so I can feel slightly better about myself. They are great for homemade pizza and offer a quick alternative if you don’t feel like getting so labor intense with your meal preparation. The result of my “Build a Better Focaccia” experiment turned out REALLY great. This onion focaccia was delicious, satisfying, not too heavy and had just the right amount of cheese and spices. Give it a shot!
I’m also going to quickly post a little onion cutting tutorial from our friend Gordon Ramsey. This video has changed my life when it comes to dicing and slicing onions. No more tears, no more inconsistently sized pieces. You always want a consistent size when dicing so that everything cooks evenly! I promise this video contains no profanity. Thanks Gordon!
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 packages of store bought pizza dough (whole wheat or regular based on preference) I used the whole wheat for this
- 2 medium red onions, sliced thinly
- A splash of cider vinegar
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup of feta cheese
- Sprinkle of red pepper flakes to your taste
- Sprinkle of oregano to taste
Preheat oven to 425°, coat a baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. I’m not going to give you a dimension for your sheet- just make sure your rolled out dough fits on there! Stretch the dough to fit onto your sheet. If you have issues with the dough springing back after you stretch it, I would recommend that you let the dough rest for about 15-20 minutes and try again! Stretch the dough out into a rectangle shape and drizzle the edges with olive oil or brush the olive oil on. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to sit while you prepare your onion topping.
In a skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil (eyeball it- it should be enough that your onions are coated and do not stick to your pan). Over medium high heat add onions, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook the onions, stirring frequently until they start to caramelize 10-12 minutes. Add your splash of cider vinegar and scrape up all the good brown bits from your pan using a wooden spoon. Cook another 1-2 minutes.
Grab your dough. Take your finger and poke indentations all over the dough- essentially creating wells. Top with the Parmesan cheese, onions, red pepper flakes & oregano. Bake until brown around the edges 25-35 minutes. Sprinkle some feta on it once it comes out of the oven. Cool for a few minutes, cut and enjoy!