Smoky brie & cherry tomato focaccia, in lieu of summer
As Mika mentioned at Milliemirepoix, New Zealand summer so far has been a bit disappointing. Without warm weather, I can’t justify enough picnicking to keep the baking, bite-sized-foods-maker in me happy. As luck would have it, today is a gorgeous day and here I am inside. So I brought summer inside with a slice of this focaccia.
Studded with the tiniest cherry tomatoes I’ve ever laid eyes on, brushed with thyme, rosemary and NZ-made chipotle flakes, and covered in slices of Evansdale smoked brie (available in Christchurch at Canterbury Cheesemongers). The wintery herbs from the garden made this beautifully rich and moreish in the cold weather, whilst the cherry tomatoes add a pop of seasonality. Oh yes, and it has one of my favourite cheeses on top. It’s so flavoursome you really don’t need any dips or anything, so is a pretty good option for any of you lucky enough to squeeze in a picnic.
Smoked brie and cherry tomato focaccia
makes a thick square 8″ focaccia, or you can make a larger thinner one
You can use your go-to focaccia dough recipe if you like. This one is very chewy and moist and has a crunchy/chewy crust. It’s also easier than pie. It tastes best the day it’s baked, but you can use it to make luxurious croutons that are soft on the inside and crisp on the outside (in the pan, medium-high heat for a short time in some olive oil, wriggled about a bit). Of course if you like those gum-destroying super crunchy croutons you can let the cubes dry out a bit and bake on a lowish heat for a while, but I’m too lazy for that and I like my gums.
- 3 1/4 c plain flour (I used 1/4c wholemeal)
- about 3/4 Tbs salt
- about 1 Tbs honey
- about 3/4 Tbs active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 c lukewarm water
- about 2 Tbs olive oil
- cherry tomatoes (halved if you want)
- about 1 tsp each rosemary and thyme, fresh or dried
- pinch chipotle flakes or smoked paprika
- slices of smoked brie, or regular brie
Once cherry tomatoes are pushed into the dough, bash the herbs and chipotle in a mortar and pestle. Sprinkle over the dough, brush with more olive oil.
Preheat oven to 200C (400F). Let the dough sit until it rises a little (took 40 minutes in my barely-warm kitchen), then lay over slices of brie, and pop into preheated oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown.
These summer music/food events put on by Taste Events at Riccarton House & Bush. In case you’re not following the blog on Facebook, here are the details for the Belgium beer & mussel festival happening on the 18th (that’s the coming Saturday!). The mussel dishes sound amaaazing and I hear there’ll be exciting non-alcoholic options too, which is something I always feel kiwi food events and places lack!