Tomato Focaccia

Its hard to resist not eating this entire focaccia in one sitting.  When I made this in 2007, it didn't turn out at all.  Not even close.  So, I left the recipe alone for about four years.  And tried it again.  And it worked.  It worked a bit too well that I almost ate the whole thing in one day.  And then made it again and noticed how good the yeasty-olive oil-y aroma floats through the kitchen.  The cherry tomatoes, especially if sun golds are used, turn into pieces of sweet candy.  Try it, you'll like it.

Tomato Potato Focaccia

barely adapted from The Wednesday Chef
yield: 1-9 inch focaccia

1 medium Yukon Gold potato
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast (original recipe says 1 teaspoon fresh yeast)
A pinch of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, plus more for salting water for potato
2/3 cup warm water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced crosswise
Coarse sea salt

Place the potato in a small saucepan and fill with enough water to cover the potato by an inch. Place the pot over high heat, covered, and bring to a boil. Add a handful of kosher salt to the water. Simmer until the potato is tender when pierced with a knife, around 20 minutes. Drain the potato and let it cool. Peel the potato and mash finely with a fork. Set aside.

Put the yeast in a large mixing bowl along with a pinch of sugar. Slowly add the warm water over the yeast, stir using a fork to help dissolve the yeast entirely. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes. The yeast should be bubbly.

Pour the flour into the yeasty water and stir with a fork, then add the mashed potato and the salt. The dough will be thick and shaggy. Use the fork to incorporate the potato into the flour. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and begin to knead the dough by hand. It will come together quickly. Knead against the bowl for a minute or so, until it is relatively smooth. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky to handle. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest, covered with a kitchen towel, in the bowl for an hour.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. Using your fingertips, gently remove the risen dough from the bowl and place it in the cake pan. Gently tug and pat it out so that it fits the pan. Cover the top of the focaccia with the tomatoes. Sprinkle a large pinch of coarse salt over the tomatoes, drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and let it rest for another hour. Dried oregano or thyme would be a welcomed addition here.

Preheat the oven to 425 while the focaccia is resting. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, but start checking at the 35 minute mark. Let cool on a rack for 20 minutes before removing the focaccia from the pan. Try not to eat it all at once.