Serves a Crowd

Blood Orange Olive Focaccia with Feta and Dried Mint

March  5, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 1 loaf focaccia (9 x 13 inches)
Author Notes

This hearty, rustic bread represents a "best of" compilation of Mediterranean ingredients. Blood oranges (said to have originated in Sicily) combine with Olympian green olives and creamy sheep's-milk feta to form the topping for this not-so-traditional focaccia. Inside, dried mint adds a subtle nod to the Eastern influence found throughout Greece. Although authentic Italian focaccia is most often flat and seasoned simply with olive oil, herbs, and coarse salt (and very good that way, too), I confess a penchant for higher, airier loaves that support creative toppings the way a good deep-dish pizza can, but without the sauce. This focaccia, topped with anti-oxidants, healthy fats, and a protein source, can be thought of as a meal unto itself, or it can be split and used as the base for a deluxe sandwich. Any way you slice it, you'll be satisfied. Look for dried mint in any market with a good stock of Middle Eastern foods. —Allison Cay Parker

What You'll Need
  • For the focaccia dough
  • 3-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 envelope (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons dried mint (if mint leaves are large, crumble them with your fingers)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) warm water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Cornmeal for dusting the baking dish
  • For the topping
  • 1 cup blood orange segments, all white pith and membranes removed (4-5 oranges)
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus a few more tablespoons for drizzling on the focaccia
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 ounces fresh Greek sheep's milk feta, to yield 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 pinch dried mint
  • 1-2 pinches sea salt
  1. Put 3 cups of the flour in a large bowl with the salt, yeast, dried mint, and oregano. Blend together well with a fork. In a measuring cup, combine the warm water (it should be slightly warmer than skin temperature, not too hot) and the vegetable oil. Incorporate the liquid gradually into the flour mixture.
  2. From here, add in extra flour up to 1 cup, as needed to make a smooth, elastic dough (I ended up using another 1/2 cup, which I added in 1/4-cup increments). Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and give it a few extra kneads. Return the dough to a clean bowl that's been lightly coated with olive oil (you can just rinse out and dry the one you started with), and turn the dough to coat it on all sides. Cover the bowl with a clean, slightly dampened kitchen towel, and set it aside to rest in a warm place for around 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it doubles in size.
  3. While the dough is rising, prepare the topping for the focaccia. Place segmented blood oranges in a bowl with the chopped green olives, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper. Set aside to marinate.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal.
  5. Turn the risen dough out into the dish. If the dough seems too sticky in the bowl, that's OK, just sprinkle some flour on the dough, dust your hands with flour as well, and scrape the dough out and into the baking dish. With a touch more flour on your hands if needed, press and stretch the dough across the bottom of the pan. Cover again with a towel and let rise for another 30 minutes.
  6. When the dough has finished rising, have ready a small bowl with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Dip your fingers in the oil and poke holes in the top of the focaccia. Spread on the blood orange and olive mixture, then top with crumbled feta. Sprinkle the focaccia with a little bit of crushed dried mint and drizzle with the olive oil that remains in the small bowl. Sprinkle on a pinch or two of sea salt.
  7. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the focaccia is puffed and nicely browned.
  8. Eat as is, dip into fine olive oil, or slice and use as a base to build a great sandwich. Store extra focaccia in an airtight container at room temperature.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • golfing judy
    golfing judy
  • Helenthenanny
  • Kelsey Banfield
    Kelsey Banfield
  • AntoniaJames
  • monkeymom

9 Reviews

golfing J. May 6, 2013
what is a blood orange?
Allison C. May 6, 2013
You can learn more about blood oranges here:
Helenthenanny March 14, 2010
This looks really and truly wonderful, such a scrumptious idea FTS!! I'd like to eat the whole thing : )
Kelsey B. March 6, 2010
This is a great use of the citrus/herb/cheese flavors. I love the idea of them combined on a rustic bread. I can easily see this becoming a regular in my rotation.
Allison C. March 11, 2010
Thank you, Kelsey. I'd actually love to do this with lemon--esp preserved lemon!--but as the theme was blood orange, well... I like this, too.
AntoniaJames March 6, 2010
You can actually dry your own mint quickly and easily in the oven . . . . simply put the fresh leaves (removed from the stems) on a cookie sheet at 325 for about four or five minutes, or until crisp. Let them sit for a few minutes and then crumble them gently with your fingers. They will release a beautiful fragrance.
Allison C. March 11, 2010
Thank you, Antonia. That's great info to share. Despite the fact that drying your own mint obviously requires little effort, perhaps I've grown lazy with the luxury of living so close to one of the best international markets in the world, Kalustyan's. But we pay through the nose for convenience, don't we? I'll have to see if buying a similar quantity of fresh mint to dry myself is more cost effective than purchasing the mint already dried. If only I had my own garden for growing all the mint (and other herbs, and vegetables, and flowers) that my heart desired. The things we trade off for city living. Someday maybe. But in the meantime, you've provided a great service for those who do NOT have the luxury of living next to Kalustyan's or similar market. Thanks again.
monkeymom March 5, 2010
I love that salty feta on this bready base. Such nice contrasts with the colors and textures.
Allison C. March 5, 2010
Thank you! And your entry for the chicken broth contest sounds really wonderful, too. Lotus... something I never cook with, but would like to try. Good luck in the current contest being voted and in the future ones, too.