Roast red pepper, basil and cucumber focaccia
I ate a roast red pepper, cucumber and basil sandwich once, it reminded me of watermelon. This bread does not remind me of watermelon, but it still tastes great. End of story.
It’s a bit involved, but the red pepper puree at least can be used for a whole multitude of things once you’ve made it, the cucumber juice perhaps less so.
Extract the cucumber juice however you can. I chopped off the skin (reserved for later), mashed up the fleshy insides and passed them through a sieve, but I’m sure a blender or juicer would do a much better job.
- 4 red peppers
- olive oil
- 60ml Extra virgin olive oil
- 30g Basil leaves
- 160g strong white bread flour
- teaspoon salt
- teaspoon yeast
- 22.5ml basil oil (and more)
- 60ml roast red pepper puree
- 25 ml cucumber juice
- 2 tablespoons of finely diced cucumber skin (leftover from juiced cucumber)
- 35 ml water
- Warm the oil in a pan until it’s just too hot to touch, add the basil and stir to coat in the oil, leave until the basil leaves are wilted, heating a little more if necessary.
- Leave the oil to cool, then strain out the basil, and you should be left with a fragrant, basil scented oil.
- This is probably more than needed for the focaccia, but preparing less would be a bit of a pain.
- Put the peppers, whole, into a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and roast at a high heat (200C) for around an hour turning occasionally, until the peppers are very soft and the skin blackening in places.
- Peel the peppers. Google to find you favourite method if you don’t have one yet. Remember to keep the roasting oil and juices for later.
- Once the peppers are peeled, chop them roughly with a clove of garlic and blend into a puree. Add a little of the cooking juices to thin the puree until it’s smooth and a light red.
- Mix together the flour, salt, cucumber skin, and yeast. Mix in the cucumber juice, red pepper puree, basil oil, and water, mix until everything is well incorporated. Keep mixing for several minutes until the dough forms a smooth mass. it will be very wet and remain rather ragged but this is ok.
- Flour a board well and place the dough on top, flouring well.
- Use the stretch and fold method, demonstrated here better than I could ever explain in words. Perform a stretch and fold then let rest for 30 minutes, repeat this three or four times, each time loosely covering the dough.
- After the last stretch and fold led the dough rise for 2 hours at room temperature.
- Liberally oil the bottom of something like a 26×18 cm pan, gently transfer the dough into the pan, stretch it out, spread more of the oil on top and start to dimple the dough with your finger tips, pushing it out until it fills the whole pan. Don’t worry too much about covering it all as it will expand plenty, just try and ensure that is of even thickness.
- Cover and leave to proof at room temperature for 2 hour, until it has swollen to twice its original thickness.
- Heat the oven to 240C and when the dough is ready bake for 15-20 mins until golden brown.
- When it’s out, drizzle a little more basil oil over the top, let cool, then eat.