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Herbed focaccia & pimento romesco.

The focaccia is a slightly scaled-down version of this recipe by Love Comma Cake; the romesco is barely adapted from My Name is Yeh. I added roasted pimentos as a nod to my beloved Southern staple and used almonds, just because I like them, but Molly’s walnut and roasted bell pepper version sounds fantastic as is.

Scale

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. One day ahead: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, 2 tablespoons chopped herbs, and yeast. In a small bowl, whisk together warm water and oil. Add the water mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula (these are my favorite) until all the flour is moistened — the dough should be quite wet and tacky, something like the dough here but should not be soupy.
  2. Next, knead or work with the dough for about 8-10 minutes, or until the dough becomes elastic and begins to hold its shape. You can either knead it by turning it out onto a work surface and scraping it up with a bench scraper and folding it over repeatedly, like Sam does, or use a stand mixer with a dough hook if you have one — or, if you’d like to go rogue like me, just use a spatula and “knead” the dough right in the bowl by just stirring and pressing and generally messing around with it until it comes together. It’s all very elegant. (But really, don’t worry too much about this — if you do an overnight rise, the long rise time will aid in any gluten development that doesn’t happen with kneading.)
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl or 4-quart container with olive oil. Scrape the focaccia dough into the bowl and gently turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rise overnight, 8-12 hours.
  4. For the romesco: At this point, you can also make your romesco (and your caramelized onions, instructions here and here). For the romesco sauce, simply combine all the romesco ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste, and that’s it! Romesco will keep up to 3 days.
  5. Day of: When you’re ready to bake, oil a 9×13-inch rimmed baking sheet or baking dish. Transfer the dough from the bowl to the baking sheet. Using your hands, flatten the dough and fold it in on itself once or twice, then gently press and stretch it into a large rectangle. Don’t worry too much about getting it to cover the pan initially. Place the dough in a warm place and let it rise for 10-20 minutes, or until it begins to feel soft again. At this point, you can gently stretch it to cover the entire dish.
  6. Preheat the oven to 450° F. While it’s preheating, let the dough rise for another 20-30 minutes, or until it comes to room temperature.
  7. Using the pads of your fingers, press on the dough all across its surface, patting it down to about 1/2 or 3/4-inch thickness and creating dimples evenly across the entire surface. Marian compares it to “playing chords on a piano.” Whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons herbs and 2 tablespoons olive oil, then drizzle evenly across the dough.
  8. Bake until golden brown, puffed, and set, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then remove from the pan, slice, and serve. Enjoy warm, with romesco sauce for dipping and caramelized onions to top.