Leek Focaccia with Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts is an easy and delicious bread to add to this year's holiday brunch, lunch or dinner.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend spending lots of quality time with family and friends. I had such a relaxing mini vacay that it's taking me some time to get back into the swing of things (aka: real life). In case you guys are wondering exactly what kind of grand ol' time I had celebrating the holiday, this is what I did:
- I ate
- I napped
- I ate again
- I napped again
- Repeat sequence eight more times
Alright, that may be a slight exaggeration and I might have accomplished a few more things in-between all the eating and napping, but I will admit the most common denominator was definitely the eating.
Total overindulgence to the max by participating in two separate, yet complete, Thanksgiving dinners (one with the family and one with friends). I ate more food than any person in their right mind should. It was bad. Well, it wasn't that bad because all the food was kick-ass to the tenth degree but, nonetheless, it was bad.
After two days of the "stuffing my face-a-thon", I decided to push aside the leftover turkey and trimmings for a big pot of my low fat and low calorie Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup, that's chock-full of healthy, organic veggies.
As I started preparing it, I had a moment of panic that I wouldn't get my carby bread intake for the day, so I promptly got out the pure-white-flour-of-no-significant-nutritional-value-whatsoever and made this leek focaccia with feta and toasted pine nuts. So much for the idea of eating a single 100% healthy meal during this holiday season.
The leeks I used are from my last organic CSA share. I have two more left and am closely guarding them like they are Fort Knox gold bars. The fantastic thing about buying in-season produce directly from a local farm is the vegetables stay fresher for longer periods, so these leeks will still be good until I'm ready to use them.
I've held squashes, beets, and cabbage in a perfectly fresh state for months after they had been picked, which is so wonderful during the NH winter months. I'll be very sad when the last of my leeks are finally used up, but it's better to have loved and eaten a sweet local leek then never to have loved at all.
Hey, you may be thinking that there's a ton of leeks on this bread and it might be a bit of an overkill. Well, I like a lot of leeks. I sauté them until they are just cooked through, maintaining a slight bite and delicious sweet taste, then I (over)load them up on the bread.
It's probably too many leeks per a typical focaccia and I'm sure many may consider this to be an open faced leek sandwich. All that is just fine by me. The more leeks the better is my standing motto...it's also a tattoo on my bum (oops, TMI??)
If you've got some beautiful fresh leeks laying around, do them a favor and make this easy Leek Focaccia with Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts. By the way, this recipe is completely vegetarian and can easily be made vegan just by omitting the feta cheese.
Leek Focaccia with Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups warm water (warmed to 80 degrees)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 ½- 5 cups bread flour
- 2 medium organic leeks, cut each leek down middle and wash well to remove dirt; thinly slice white and pale green parts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and white pepper to taste
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- In a large bowl, combine the yeast with the warm water and mix well. Let mixture proof for 5 minutes, or until bubbly. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the yeast mixture. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Gradually stir in the flour mixture into the yeast mixture, 1 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. Knead the dough for a few minutes on a floured surface until it is smooth and springy. Shape into a ball and place in a large bowl coated with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Turn the dough ball to fully over in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a flour sack cloth and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1-1.5 hours.
- Gently push the dough down and divide into two equal pieces. Lightly oil two 10-inch round pans or a large baking sheet with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place each dough half in the round pans or free form by hand in the shape of an oblong and place on the baking sheet. Cover with a flour sack cloth and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Uncover and make deep indents across the entire top of the dough. Cover again and let rise until doubled.
- While dough is rising, sauté sliced leeks in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-low heat, until just tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper to taste, remove from heat and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400F/204C degrees. Place breads in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the breads from the oven and divide the leek mixture onto the breads. Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the breads are lightly browned. Top breads with the feta cheese and pine nuts. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.