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Rounding Out the Meal

Aug 27, 2020

This August, like most, I am wholeheartedly jumping into the garden bounty. It is the time of year when EVERYTHING is at its peak, and I appreciate it all. Most of our meals revolve around a grilled protein and multiple vegetables. There are often a couple of salads on the table. (Kohlrabi Coleslaw has been a recent favorite.) Zucchini, summer squash, ears of corn, onions, carrots, beets and new potatoes fit right in on the grill. Tender, fresh from the garden green beans can be roasted in a grill basket (or steamed, if I want to bother with a pot of water on the stove). Sliced tomatoes round out every meal.

I don’t miss the carbs of pasta or rice. The perfectly ripened vegetables fit my summertime cravings. There will be plenty of time for noodles in the coming cold winter days. However, sometimes, I do want something else rounding out our plates. Garlic and Basil Focaccia is just the thing.

This yeast bread comes together so quickly that I recently whipped it up in less time than it took the repairman to fix my wayward dryer. The sliced garlic on top roasts in the depressions of olive oil and has a delicious flavor impact. In my world, basil always says freshness and makes this a perfect bread for summer meals. 

I always bake it in a cast iron pan, but a cake pan will work just as well. If you choose a square utensil, any remaining of this flat loaf can be cut into squares and split horizontally to make an excellent vehicle for sandwiches.


Garlic and Basil Focaccia perfectly complements a meal that's heavy on garden vegetables.

Garlic and Basil Focaccia


3/4 cup warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4-ounce package Rapid Rise yeast

4 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 clove garlic, sliced

1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan

1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil

flaky sea salt


Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Add sugar to warm water in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Stir in yeast. Place in a warm (not hot) place and allow to stand for 10 minutes, until yeast is activated and foamy.

Add flour and salt to bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook. With mixer running, add activated yeast and water and continue to stir.

Gradually add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix on low until combined. When the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, increase mixer speed and allow mixer to knead the dough for about 3-5 minutes until dough is smooth and seems to be forming a ball. (Depending on the weather, more flour or olive oil may be needed to form a smooth dough.)

Grease a cast iron skillet or an 8- or 9-inch cake pan with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil.

Lightly flour a flat surface. Remove the dough and place onto the floured surface and sprinkle the top lightly with flour. With your hands, gently shape the dough into a flat disk and place in the prepared skillet.

Gently press the dough evenly in the bottom of the skillet and to the sides, then cover with a clean towel.

TURN OFF THE OVEN and place the covered dough in the oven for 20 minutes to rise.

Remove the skillet from the oven and remove the towel. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Brush the remaining olive oil over the focaccia bread dough, sprinkle with the sliced garlic, grated parmesan, chopped basil and flaky salt. Make indents over the top of the dough with your thumb.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven. Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving. (Serves 8-10)


Fran Hill has been blogging about food at On My Plate since October of 2006. She, her husband and their three dogs ranch near Colome.


07:36 am - Mon, August 31 2020
Laura Andrews said:
This looks absolutely delicious. One of my coworkers accidentally grew kohlrabi this year and wasn't sure what to do with it, so if you'd want to share that coleslaw recipe, it wouldn't hurt our feelings any. :)

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