As summer winds down, overflowing baskets of figs fill the markets. If you're searching for a new way to enjoy the bounty, consider topping a homemade focaccia dough with them and serving it with a salad and a bottle of chilled McIlroy Chardonnay. It's a delicious dinner to enjoy al fresco on these precious late summer evenings.
Adapted from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day
To make the dough: Put all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until combined with a wooden spoon or in a stand mixer. Cover the container and let it rest for about 2 hours on the counter. The warmer the location, the faster it rises. The longer it takes, the more developed the dough flavor will be. The dough can be used right away, but it is much easier to handle once it has been thoroughly chilled. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week.
Olive oil for pan
2 shallots (or more if small), thinly sliced and sautéed in olive oil or butter until lightly golden
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
3 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre)
Sea salt, preferably Maldon or other large flake salt
Balsamic, to drizzle
5 Figs, any variety, sliced in half lengthwise
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a pizza stone in the center (if you have one). Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 9-inch cake pan. Set aside.
Dust the surface of the focaccia dough with flour and pull off a one pound (grapefruit size) piece of dough. Dust with more flour and shape into a ball. Using your hands, shape it into a half-inch thick round. Place it in the prepared pan and move it around so the surface is covered with olive oil. Flip the dough over and then let it rest for 15-20 minutes, covered with plastic.
After it has rested, press the dough towards the edges of the pan. Sprinkled the sautéed shallots over dough, press the figs, cut sides facing up, into the dough in a circle. Place chunks of goat cheese in the bare places and sprinkle thyme and sea salt over the top. Cover and let rest for another 20 minutes.
Uncover and place pan on the well-heated pizza stone (if using). Bake for 20 minutes or until focaccia is medium brown. Cut into wedges and serve as an appetizer or with a salad for lunch.