Caramelized Onion, Fennel and Tomato Focaccia

May 4th, 2015

Caramelized onion Focaccia 1

This is another tasty recipe from Katie Quinn Davies new cookbook, What Katie Ate on the Weekend.  I love making bread.  I keep a container of instant dry yeast in my refrigerator at all times.  Turning out loaves of wonderful bread is one of the easiest kitchen tasks that you can master.  Mixing the dough in a stand mixer makes it even easier.  Caramelized onion Focaccia 3V   The last few weeks have been kind of hard on me.  David has been traveling.  I have sprained my ankle and I’ve had to hire a dog walker.  And now I am facing surgery. I have plates and pins in my right leg from a previous injury.  It looks like they need to be removed.  I’m not sure when this will happen, but plans with family and friends are on hold for a while.

Lucky for you and me, I can still sit at my computer and connect with everyone.  Also lucky for me is that my kitchen has turned out to be the best “handicapped” space I have ever been in.  I can cook, I can clean and I can be creative.

Caramelized Red onion Focaccia 2 Close

While I was baking this bread one morning in my kitchen, I was reflecting on just how lucky I am.  No matter what is going in our lives, we still must carry on with daily activities.  We can choose to passively sit back and feel sorry for ourselves . . .  or we can go into our kitchens and cook.  I choose to cook.  It is therapeutic . . . it connects us to each other . . . . and who could resist this crunchy bread.  Drizzle it with a little more olive oil, dip it in balsamic vinegar and enjoy.


2 teaspoons active dried yeast
2 pinches of superfine sugar
1/3 cup olive oil, divided, plus extra for brushing
3 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting
fine salt
4 red onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 teaspoons fennel seeds
9 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
sea salt

Combine the yeast, sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoon oil and 11 fl oz warm water in a bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), then set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until frothy.

Sift the flour into a bowl and add 1 teaspoon salt.  Make a well in the center, pour in the yeast mixture and stir to combine.  If you are mixing in a stand mixer, add the flour to the mixing bowl and mix with the dough hook for about 5 minutes before you turn out onto the board and then kneed for just a few minutes on the floured board.

Turn out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Place in a large bowl that has been greased with a little olive oil and cover with a damp kitchen towel.  Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. You can get restaurant wood table tops from here to get the best countertable tops.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a skillet over low-medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 12-15 minutes or until soft.  Add the brown sugar and vinegar and cook, stirring, for 7-10 minutes or until the onion has caramelized and the vinegar has been absorbed.  Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.

Punch down the dough with your fist.  Turn out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead for 1-2 minutes.  Spread the dough out to form a rough rectangle, then cover the surface evenly with the onion mixture.  Scatter the fennel seeds on top, reserving a few to scatter over later.  Carefully fold the dough over on itself a few times until most of the onion mixture is incorporated into the dough (this bit can get a little sticky so ensure your countertop is well-floured).

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. and grease a baking sheet with olive oil.

Press the dough onto the prepared sheet, cove with a camp kitchen towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 20 minutes or until doubled in size.

Use your finger to press dimples into the dough, then carefully press the tomato halves into the dimples.  Brush well with oil and sprinkle over the remaining fennel seeds, then season with a few good pinches of seal salt.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and cooked through.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Printable Recipe

26 responses to “Caramelized Onion, Fennel and Tomato Focaccia”

  1. Monique says:

    You ahve just put into words what I have often thought.
    How lucky am I to enjoy baking cooking or reading or is absolutely therapeutic.We are lucky to be able to afford the ingredients..what do others do when a set back happens and they are not as fortunate.
    You must keep your mind so busy to combat giving into pain.. set backs etc..Easier said thatn done..but one must try.
    Our immediate neighbour ha s a plate in his foot etc.. and it became infected..his winter in Fl was not the same..and now because it has to come out..his Spring and perhaps summer is changed.
    I understand.
    We don’t know what he have till it’s missing .
    Good for you for keeping busy and sharing this work of art!
    Love breads..I agree nothing easier that brings such satisfaction.
    Beautiful Penny!

  2. Monique says:

    I wish I didn’t type backwards..forgive the index is a poor typist on it’s own..and when I add middle?Worse.

  3. Susan says:

    Penny, sorry about the ankle and now surgery looming ahead. But as you said, much to be thankful for. This was not the year for Europe, was it. That is a score. Love your focaccia. Looks great for a go-along with a great glass of wine with friends.

  4. Barbara says:

    Smashing photos, Penny! Making me hungry. 🙂 Pinned it.
    So sorry to read about all your ankle and leg problems…and that you may need surgery. Wish I lived nearby so I could help, although I’m sure you have tons of friends nearby. Nothing is worse than losing mobility, would rather break an arm. (I remember debating this with someone years ago when I had a broken leg and she had a broken wrist. Dressing was the biggest problem with the arm.) Will be thinking of you…please keep us posted!

    • Penny says:

      Love your thoughtful offer of help Barbara. I wish you lived nearby too. So far I am mobile. I was told that recovery is quick after surgery, so that is good.

  5. Bonnie says:

    We love homemade focaccia and have it often. I can’t wait for summer’s heirloom tomatoes to arrive in the farmers’ markets. Sorry to hear about your need for surgery. It is good that your kitchen is accessible and you can enjoy cooking. We had to hire a dog walker last summer for awhile. The town was so used to seeing my husband walk Oliver that the police stopped the dog walker and questioned why she had him out!!


    • Penny says:

      That is too funny Bonnie. It’s nice to know that Oliver has the police watching out for him. My dog walker ran into several of my neighbors too and they were curious. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Diana says:

    So sorry to hear about your surgery but your positive attitude will make all the difference to your recovery. I agree with you that we are so blessed and have no right to be discouraged with an inconvenience when all will return to normal eventually. Be patient.

    Your focaccia looks delicious and is a must try for me.

  7. Sam @ Mycarolinakitchen says:

    Oh Penny, I’m so sorry to hear about your needing surgery. We’ll both be thinking of you. You are so right about keeping a good attitude & carrying on. Wish I was there to enjoy your focaccia with you & take your dog for a walk.

    • Penny says:

      What a sweet thing to say Sam. Daisy would have loved to take a walk with you. David is back now so I am busy telling him what to do. LOL. Actually, I am getting around quite well for now.

  8. Madonna says:

    Love your positive attitude. Sometimes it is difficult to maintain when it goes on too long. I hope you heal quickly.

    Love your focaccia.

  9. Penny @ The Comforts of Home says:

    Penny I am so sorry for all that you are going through. Your bread looks wonderful!

    • Penny says:

      Thanks Penny. Looking forward to getting this behind me and back to fun times. Hope the unpacking is going well.

  10. Larry says:

    We really enjoy focaccia and this one looks delicious.

  11. Jane says:

    I feel so bad about your ankle and impending surgery. It’s hard to sit out on the sidelines when we like to be on the go. I totally understand how therapeutic cooking, baking and just puttering around the kitchen can be. I found that out last fall when I had my hands operated on. Keeps our minds focused on good things.

    The focaccia looks awesome, definitely Pinning it!

    Take care,

    Jane x

    • Penny says:

      I remember when you went through those painful surgeries Jane. Thank you for your kind words. I know you understand.

  12. Susan says:

    I’m so sorry you have to face surgery, Penny! When it rains, it pours, as I well know. I’m so glad you have a a kitchen that you can navigate and share such lovely things like this focaccia. It’s beautiful! I never though of keeping a jar of yeast in the frig as I have always bought the packets. I must try it! I love baking and hope to try this soon. Best wishes to you♥

    • Penny says:

      Thanks Susan. The focaccia is great. We dipped it in oil and balsamic vinegar at lunchtime yesterday.

  13. Katie Zeller says:

    We do rather manage to muddle on, don’t we? Cooking helps me, as well. As does the internet. Good luck with the surgery and hope the ankle is better soon. Focaccia looks yummy

    • Penny says:

      Thanks Katie. We do muddle on. Surgery may be a while down the road. Appreciate your support. Nice to have friends like you.

  14. […] made a simple tossed salad with Spring greens, mandarin oranges, raspberries and almonds and these focaccia breadsticks with an oil and balsamic vinegar dipping […]

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.