My Favorite Southwestern Focaccia

I often serve this right from the grill while guests are gathering. I find it very popular with all who sample it. You can decrease the olive oil even more than I did from my original recipe, but the flavor suffers in direct proportion.

Yield: 6-8 servings

1 cup warm water (110 to 115F or 45C)
1 package or 1 scant Tablepoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (see note)
¾ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon good-quality olive oil, preferably Spanish

TOPPING

¼ cup good-quality olive oil, preferably Spanish
2 large red onions, halved lengthwise then very thinly sliced crosswise
4 large cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Mexican oregano or sage or 2 teaspoons dried herb
½ cup queso blanco or feta cheese (optional), crumbled

4. Add warm water to bowl of heavy-duty mixer or other large bowl, then add yeast and sugar and stir until dissolved. Let stand until foamy. Add half of the flour, salt and olive oil. Using a dough hook or by hand, beat until smooth. Beat in enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out dough on a lightly floured board and knead until dough is smooth and gluten is well formed, about 8 minutes.

5. Divide dough in half and form each half into a thin round, making a slight edge around sides. Poke dough with your fingers to make light indentations for the topping. Prepare topping.

6. Preheat a covered grill to medium or 375F (190C). Evenly divide topping between dough rounds. Cover grill rack with foil to slow baking. Place bread on foil. Cover grill and bake about 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Sprinkle with cheese and serve warm in squares or wedges.

TOPPING

1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until transparent and almost soft, about 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except cheese to onion mixture.

Note: Carefully spoon flour when measuring; do not scoop cup into flour container, or you will have too much flour. Level off with a spatula.

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