Cherry Tomato Focaccia is a savory bread made with garden fresh ingredients.
September arrived before we were ready in many ways. Seemingly without warning, school is back in session, football season has begun, and the flavors of summer have started to disappear. Our garden, however, is still full of summer’s bounty. Despite the turn towards fall, our tomato plants continue to produce fruit so beautiful and sweet, they taste almost like candy. We can’t eat them or give them away fast enough. We tried a few new varieties of tomatoes this year, but our trusty old cherry tomatoes outperformed its neighbors. Second in line, however, was a newcomer: the sweet little yellow pear tomatoes. When I came in from the garden with a huge bowl full of this tomato combination, I could see Keith’s mind working. He had great idea for a cherry tomato focaccia that would showcase these beautiful varieties perfectly. Keith can make focaccia with his eyes closed. He learned to make it years ago, and these days he can whip up a gorgeous pan with what looks like very little effort. There is nothing like his signature bread, warm and just out of the oven. For this cherry tomato focaccia, he formed the dough into little rounds and brushed them with homemade pesto (made with our homegrown basil). Then he pressed the sliced tomatoes right into the dough. To be honest, I made a meal out of this incredible bread. The roasted tomatoes added a touch of sweetness to the deliciously salty herb flavor of the focaccia. I couldn’t resist another piece… and then another. It is intended, however, to be served as a colorful appetizer or a flavorful side to an entrée salad or pasta. This is how we have been enjoying it, as we savor the last tastes of summer.
A savory bread that can serve as an appetizer or a side dish
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 C warm water (110–115 degrees)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 C flour, plus extra for kneading
- For the basil pesto topping:
- 1/4 C olive oil
- 6–7 basil leaves
- 10–20 cherry tomatoes
- In a large bowl, combine water, sugar and yeast. Mix with fork.
- Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes to activate yeast (it will foam).
- Combine flour and salt and mix into liquid mixture until it forms a dough ball.
- Remove it from bowl and place on floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and and just slightly tacky.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a clean bowl and roll dough ball to coat.
- Cover and allow to rest in a warm place until size has doubled.
- Pull small baseball size balls of dough and flatten to 1/2 in thick and place on baking sheet.
- Continue until completed. approx. 7-8 portions
- Cut tomatoes in half and place sporadically on top of dough and press down into dough.
- Continue until completed.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Chop Basil leaves very fine and blend with olive oil and brush on top of bread.
- Place in heated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove and serve.