Saturday, November 14, 2020

Getting Festive: Caramelized Onion and Cranberry Focaccia





 This is a sponsored post. While I was compensated financially, all opinions are my own. 

I’m back with more Spanish Sweet Onion love, and this recipe is so perfect for the upcoming holiday season. I mean, just look at it! This is the sort of thing I want to nibble on while the furnace is purring and the windows are frosting up. It’s decidedly winter here, with the massive dump of snow from last weekend putting us firmly in place. Literally. I ventured out on the roadways for the first time in a week and only got stuck once, which is rather successful I think. It was nice to come home and relax with a slice of this savoury onion and cranberry focaccia. There’s enough sweetness from the onions to play with the tart cranberries, and that sprinkle of flaky salt brings everything together. It was a big hit in my house!





For this recipe I used Spanish Sweet Onions grown in the Snake River Valley in Idaho and Eastern Oregon. These onions have never been recalled so look for them when you shop. The third and fourth generation onion farmers have some of the most stringent growing and storage practices around. This growing region is located along the Snake River Valley on the southwest portion of Idaho and Malhuer County, Oregon. These rich volcanic soils and dry climate produce some of the finest onions in the world, with a unique combination of mild flavour, large size, and tight, dry skins. The Idaho-Eastern Oregon Spanish Sweets contain more sugar and less water than other onions, which makes them ideal for caramelizing, sautéing, and grilling. From mid-October to March/April, most of the onions available are these wonderful Spanish Sweet Onions and I know they’re always coming home with me from the grocery store as they are an important pantry staple and I always have to have some on hand.





There is a little effort involved with making the focaccia, but most of the time is set aside for the rising of the dough. While that happens, set a large frying pan over medium heat and slowly caramelize the sliced Spanish Sweets until they are golden brown. Lovely twiggy herbs like rosemary and thyme add an agreeable aroma to the pan, and just as the onions finish cooking, cranberries add a punch of tartness and colour. After you dimple the dough with your fingers (so fun!) spread the onion/cranberry mixture on top, add a flurry of flaky salt, and bake until golden brown. The focaccia is thick and chewy, and can be enjoyed at any time of day. Slices are best when still warm, of course, and I quite like dipping them in a shallow bowl of good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Classic, but so good. The flavours of the bread are so darn complimentary, and if you like a little booze with your food, a sparkling white is just the right tipple. It is the holidays, after all. 


For more delicious recipes check out usaonions.com.






Caramelized Onion and Cranberry Focaccia 


Dough:

1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110F)

2 tsp granulated sugar

1 package dry-active yeast (2 1/2 tsp)

4 1/2 - 5 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl

1 1/2 tsp salt

Topping: 

5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 Tbsp butter

1 large Spanish Sweet Onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp salt

2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (some sliced in half)

2 tsp honey

1 1/2 tsp flaky or coarse sea salt


1. Add the warm water and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Stir in the yeast. Let it stand 5-10 minutes until frothy. If the yeast doesn’t froth up, start over, being sure to check that your yeast hasn’t expired. 

2. On low speed, gradually add the flour, olive oil, and salt. Increase the speed to medium-low and continue mixing the dough for 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, and isn’t pulling away from the sides of the bowl, add an additional 1/4 cup of flour while it’s mixing. 

3. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a ball. Place the dough into a large greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour or longer. 

4. Grease a 12x17-inch rimmed baking sheet with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Punch the dough down and transfer it to the baking sheet. Using your hands, push the dough out into an even layer, stretching it all the way to the rim. If the dough is too elastic, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before continuing to stretch it out. Cover the dough loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise another 45-50 minutes. 

5. Preheat the oven to 400F. 

6. To make the topping:  In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp of the olive oil and the butter. Add the sliced onion and stir to coat in the fat. Add the salt and cook for about 20 minutes until golden brown. If the onions start to burn, turn down the heat. Stir in the herbs, and cook for another few minutes. Stir in the cranberries and honey and remove from the heat. 

7. Poke holes all over the surface of the dough. Scatter the topping over the dough, drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with the salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the bread is golden and the cranberries have blistered in a few spots. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Makes 20-24 pieces. 





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