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Author Notes: This is a re-creation of a dish I recently had in Washington, DC while visiting my twin sister for our birthday, at my favorite District restaurant, Iron Gate. It is a lightly Greek-influenced restaurant featuring small plates that rotate seasonally, set in an old carriage house and its patio outside which is completely arbored over with a single massive grape vine. This was one of the many vegetable forward plates my sister, mom and I shared with glasses of white wine from Santorini. Definitely more attempts to follow at re-creating the dishes we enjoyed there. My go-to foccacia base recipe is Anne Burrell's with some minor adjustments. Enjoy! —Emily | Cinnamon&Citrus
Serves 12 or more
- 1 pack active dry yeast
- 1 3/4 cups warm water (should not be too hot to touch)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 cups a couple tablespoons AP flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1/2 large ball of smoked mozzarella ("scamorza" in Italian markets)
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1/2 small shallot
- coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper for finishing
- Combine the yeast, warm water, and sugar and let sit in a warm place until the yeast becomes frothy, 10-15 minutes.
- In a stand mixer with a hook attachment, combine the flour, salt, 1 Tbs of the fresh thyme, 1/2 cup of the olive oil, and the yeast mixture and mix to combine. Once it comes together, run the mixer on medium-low for another 5 minutes. If the dough looks sticky, add an additional tablespoon or 2 of flour to the mixer. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 2-3 more minutes by hand and form into a ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean dish towel, and let rise in a warm space for 1 hour.
- After the dough has had its first rise, coat a half hotel pan (a large sheet tray with a rim) with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto the prepared pan, pushing it to the edges of the pan into a rectangle shape with your fingers. Turn it over once before you've made it as large as the pan so both sides are coated in oil. Press your fingers down through the dough into the pan all over to create the divots that characterize a foccacia. Let this rise an additional 45 minutes to an hour (until it about doubles in height) on top of the stove while you preheat your oven to 425F.
- While the dough has its second rise, prepare your toppings. Thinly slice the zucchini into circles (you can use a mandoline for this, but they frighten me). Likewise, slice the garlic and shallot into thin circles. Slice the smoked mozzarella on the bias into large circles. Chop the remaining 1 tablespoon thyme leaves and the oregano finely.
- When your second rise is done, press the smoked mozzarella rounds into the surface somewhat evenly, and do the same for the zucchini. Sprinkle over the shallot rings and sliced garlic and herbs, then press lightly so they sink into the dough a bit (this will protect them from over-browning in the oven). Sprinkle with a generous pinch of sea salt and give a good once over with a black pepper grinder.
- Cook in the middle rack in your 425F preheated oven for 25 minutes until the focaccia is golden and the smoked mozzarella is browned and bubbly in places. Slice with a pizza wheel or a bread knife (or serve in a big slab and let people pull from the loaf) and enjoy!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Zucchini or Summer Squash