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Strawberry Focaccia with Balsamic Onions

Weird?  Exciting?  Delicious?  Strawberries and onions?  Together?  On bread?

I usually like sweet and savory things together, so this recipe that came to my inbox from intrigued me.  I sometimes make a rosemary focaccia that is pretty easy, so I figured this recipe wouldn’t be too difficult.  And it’s not.  If you’re intimidated by yeast breads, focaccia is a great place to start.  The dough only has to rise for an hour or so, so it’s quite doable even on a weeknight.  Once you’ve got the dough ready, it’s just a matter of slicing the strawberries and caramelizing the onions with balsamic vinegar.

While the original recipe called for maple syrup, I just used honey and it turned out fine.  I didn’t even caramelize the onions as long as the recipe suggested – 5 minutes was enough to get my onions browned, and then a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and honey into the hot pan made them sweet-tart and caramel-colored.

The hubs said, “What, this isn’t dessert?”.  Then, “It’s…interesting.”

He asked me to pack him a piece in his lunchbox though, so he must have liked it after all.

Me, I like anything to do with bread.

Strawberry Focaccia with Honey-Balsamic Onions
Adapted from Saveur

For Bread:
1 tbsp dry yeast
1 cup warm water (100-110F)
1 tsp honey
2 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup strong/bread flour and 1 1/2 cups all-purpose)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra

For Topping:
1 medium sweet onion, quartered and sliced thin
2 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
8-10 basil leaves, sliced (I used rosemary instead, but basil is probably better)
sea salt
extra olive oil

Mix yeast, warm water, and honey together. Set aside until foamy, then add olive oil. Mix together flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast/oil mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough pulls together (it will be sticky). Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Grease a bowl with olive oil and put the dough back into the bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm location, until doubled, about 1 hour.

Grease a 9×13 baking sheet with olive oil. Press dough into pan, making indentations with fingers. Brush with another tbsp olive oil and let rise another 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450F.

Meanwhile, heat a tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onions and cook gently until browned and caramelized (10 minutes or so). Add balsamic vinegar and honey to onions and continue to cook until most of liquid has evaporated and onions are sticky and deep brown.

Scatter strawberries, onions, and basil over unbaked focaccia. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes until top of focaccia is browned.

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