Focaccia Mediterranea

For the dough:

For the filling and topping:

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the water, and stir until the dough starts to come together. When most of the flour is incorporated, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky. Return it to the bowl (I usually clean out the bowl and spray a light layer of olive oil inside, but I don’t think you need to). Cover the bowl with a cloth and let sit in a warm-ish room to rise. The dough should double in size, which usually takes about an hour.

Meanwhile, roast the pepper over a gas burner or under a broiler, for about four or five minutes on each side. Once it’s blackened, let it sit to cool for about 15 minutes, then peel the blackened skin off, chop and de-seed. (You could totally buy roasted peppers in a jar and I wouldn’t tell anyone).

Heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s nice and hot, add the onion and cook for a few minutes, until the onion is soft and slightly translucent. Stir in the escarole a handful at a time, until it wilts, then stir in the parsley and a sprinkle of salt. Remove from the heat and let cool.

When the dough is risen, oil a 9-inch square baking pan. Divide the dough, taking about 2/3 of it for the bottom layer and the remaining 1/3 for the top. Roll the larger piece into a 10 inch by 10 inch square, and press it into the baking pan, making sure to press it into the corners. It doesn’t need to reach all the way to the top of each side.

Spread the sauteed escarole mixture over the layer of dough in the pan, and top with the grated cheese. Then roll out the remaining dough and use it to cover the escarole filling. Pinch the edges together to close it up.

Mix together about a tablespoon of oil with 1 tsp of water and a pinch of salt, and brush the mixture over the dough. Arrange the tomato and the roasted pepper on top and sprinkle with dried oregano. Now cover it with a dishtowel and let rise again, for about another hour.

Heat the oven to 450F. Bake the focaccia for about 30 minutes. When the crust is golden brown, remove it from the oven. Use a spatula to gently lift the focaccia out of the pan, and let it cool on a wire rack for at least five minutes, if you can. I’m not sure I did wait, honestly, it smelled so incredible. And it made for excellent leftovers, as it reheats easily in a toaster oven in just a few minutes.

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