Cherry Black Pepper Focaccia. The title didn't sing to me. It sounded a little off key. In my head, cherry is for dessert. Black pepper is for seasoning things that aren't dessert. I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea of combining the two. I didn't know which mental food compartment to file it away in.
This focaccia was one of the assignments from the HBin5 group that I participate in.
We've been playing with dough since the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day book was published back in .....I think it was late October 2009. You are more than welcome to join us. This isn't a class. It's not like you've missed anything that would make you struggle with any of the upcoming assignments. And there's a whooole group of knowledgeable peeps who are more than happy to share what they know. In between our bi-monthly assignments everyone can keep in touch through Google Groups with bread only discussions.
Anyways....this was part of the assignment a couple of weeks ago. After reading the rave reviews about the flavor, I decided to go ahead of jump on the Cherry Black Pepper Focaccia band wagon.
In the cookbook it describes it as "....a great balance between sweet and savory." Ok...so now I can get "dessert" out of my head and move along. Whew....my mental dessert compartment can now calm down...everything is as it should be. No black pepper will end up in there any time soon.
Sweet and savory. Sweet from the cherries...which by the way get to take a little bath in some red wine, along with some onions, salt and pepper. This way the cherries plump up and don't get burned in the oven (although a couple of mine still did). Savory from the onions and pepper.
What I did (cuz the book told me to)....was to take a grapefruit sized handful of dough....shape it into a ball then flatten it out to about 1/2" or so. This was placed on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I then had the pleasure of taking my fingers and poking the dough. It was kinda fun....poke, poke, poke....creating those cute little dimples that hold the olive oil...ya know? Then the focaccia was allowed to rest for about 20 minutes.
Thats when I sat here, trying to figure out what else I was going to make to go with this sweet and savory bread. Being that it was morning....I had eggs on the brain. I considered those cute little "eggs in a basket" where you cut a hole in the bread and bake your egg in that.
hmm...someday I'll do that but with a different bread.
Then I remembered that I had a steak that needed cooking. Oh....steak and eggs for breakfast! Now my heads all wrapped around this whole thing....and I'm looking forward to it.
Ok, so I'm all excited now and the focaccia is just about ready to go into the oven. I drained the wine off the cherries (figured they were drunk enough for this time of day) and sprinkled them across the dough (then pushing them in so they don't fall off) along with some of the onions which had turned red from the wine. Then I drizzled some olive oil on top and added freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
Plopped into a very hot 425'F oven for about 25 minutes....until golden brown but with unburned cherries......the focaccia enticed me the who baking time with it's wonderful aroma....full of taste bud pleasing promises.
While that was cooking away, I got started on my steak. I love balsamic vinegar. And with this sweet and savory bread, I thought the two dishes would compliment each other very nicely.
I mixed up a quick little marinade of garlic, pepper....then some olive oil
Then the balsamic vinegar
Mix it all up and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile the timer went off and it was time to remove this incredible smelling focaccia from the oven...
Heat up your grilling pan or what ever pan you're going to use to cook your steak. Do you know that for some reason, steak smells different in the morning. More pure and pungent or something. It's wonderful!
Asia seems to agree with me as she wakes up from her morning nap in the dining room
Her little nose was all over the place!
Time to make yourself an egg and serve up some Sunday breakfast.
I have to just say...that steak there? It's not burned. It's not overly charred. It's just saturated with that deep dark rich balsamic vinegar flavor. And that egg.... you bet it was runny! Now the focaccia was lovely....sweet and savory just as promised! If you dont have a runny egg to dip it in, you can just get a little bowl of olive oil and black pepper and indulge your senses.