Celebrate the holidays with a batch of this tasty Goat Cheese and Tomato Focaccia!
Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to turn our attention to Christmas. This is seriously one of my favorite times of the year. The festive Christmas lights and holiday music always put me in a good mood! Of course, we have an even bigger reason to be happy this year. An 8lb, 3oz reason to be exact. We brought little Robbie home from the hospital just over a week ago, and it’s safe to say that life around here is a bit different now. But we are fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends who are eager to help us adjust to our new addition.
We are close friends with our neighbors, and they’ve taken to calling themselves our “New York parents” since neither me nor my wife have family in this area. And now that Robbie is here, they are his “New York grandparents.” We often get together with them on the weekends for a glass of wine, and we usually slice up some cheese as an appetizer. However, this past weekend, I decided to up my game a bit. I whipped up a batch of this Goat Cheese and Tomato Focaccia, and it was the perfect appetizer! We opened a bottle of wine and sat around the fire chatting about little Robbie and how we are adjusting to having a family of 3 now.
For me, the holidays are all about hanging out with friends. And of course, hanging out with friends means the opportunity to serve tasty hors d’oeuvres and delicious wine. For this occasion, we popped up a bottle of Bordeaux that I had picked up at our local wine store. By law, Bordeaux wines must be grown in the Bordeaux region of southwestern France. On a side note, I’m a history buff, and I’ve always wanted to visit the town of Saint-Émilion. (And since I’m always looking for connections to Roman history, the Romans first planted vineyards in Saint-Émilion back in the 2nd century. That’s right, they’ve been making wine in that region for 2,000 years!)
I always think about red wine when I hear Bordeaux, but this region also produces white wine, too. So it’s totally possible to have a white Bordeaux. In fact, all Bordeaux wines are a blend of various grapes. White Bordeaux wines are a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle grapes while the signature red Bordeauxs are a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Approximately 80% of Bordeaux’s wines are red. However, in order to be officially called a Bordeaux, the wine must be made in this region of France. How’s that for some fun trivia? Now you’re ready to impress your friends (and neighbors!) at the next holiday gathering!
You guys know that we love our pizza around here. When we’re not hanging out with friends, Saturday nights are usually reserved for a homemade pizza and a movie (or football game!) on the couch. So it’s no surprise that we love focaccia in this house, too. Focaccia is closely related to pizza dough. Similar to pizza, a piece of focaccia dough is a blank canvas waiting to be topped with any variety of meats, cheeses and veggies. For this version, I opted for cherry tomatoes, garlic, rosemary and goat cheese. This recipe makes 2 round loaves of focaccia, and that first loaf disappeared faster than I could blink. (This Goat Cheese and Tomato Focaccia is excellent served with a glass of Bordeaux, but you could also slice it in half and turn it into the most amazing sandwiches ever. You know, in case you have leftovers…hah!)
It’s easy to get lost looking at labels on wine bottles at your local wine store, but wine is so much more than just the label. Bordeaux Wine has recently launched a series of mini-documentaries about the people, places and culture of the Bordeaux region. The first video explores the world of oyster farming in Arcachon Bay. (Did you know that oysters take almost 4 years to reach maturity?)
Other segments focus on the street art in Bordeaux and the farmer’s market located in the center of the city. In the words of local Bordeaux chef Jean-Pierre Xiradakis, a city’s market is the meeting place. A visit to any new city should start with the market. I couldn’t agree more! Whenever my wife and I travel out of the country, we like to visit grocery stores. It’s fascinating seeing the different foods available in different areas.
So as we head into the holidays, I suggest baking up a batch of this delicious focaccia, inviting the neighbors over and popping open a bottle of Bordeaux. While there are some very rare Bordeauxs out there, there are also many in the $15-$30 range. Here’s to a fun and festive holiday season! Cheers!
Goat Cheese and Tomato Focaccia
For the Dough
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1¾ cups water room temperature
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2½ tsp instant dry yeast
- 4 Tbsp olive oil divided
For the Toppings
- 3 Tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 tsp garlic diced
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes halved (red and yellow)
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 oz. goat cheese broken into small crumbles
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
For the Dough
- Using a countertop mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, water, milk, sugar, salt, yeast and 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Mix on medium speed for 6-8 minutes.
- Once dough is smooth and shiny, transfer it into a large oiled bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm location to rise for 30 minutes. (Note #1: I usually place this dough in the oven with only the oven light on. Note #2: The dough will be very soft and loose at this stage.)
- Once dough has begun to rise, pull part of dough away from side of bowl and fold it up and over the rest of the dough. Repeat this process 3-4 times, rotating the bowl ¼ turn each time. Cover bowl and let dough rise for 30 more minutes.
- Drizzle remaining olive oil into (2) 8” or 9” round baking pans. (1 Tbsp of olive oil in each pan.) Turn dough out onto a floured countertop and fold several times. Divide dough in half and press one piece of dough into each pan. (Note: You may need to stretch the dough slightly so that it fills the pan.) Cover pans and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
For the Toppings
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Using your fingers, dimple the dough by gently pressing down about ½ way through the dough. Repeat so that there are dimples every 1½”-2”.
- Brush each of the two pieces of dough with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle ½ tsp of diced garlic evenly over each dough.
- In a small bowl, toss the halved tomatoes with remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Divide the tomatoes evenly between the two doughs.
- Sprinkle rosemary, goat cheese, Parmesan and salt evenly across both doughs.
- Bake at 400°F for 35-37 minutes, or until focaccia is golden brown on top.
- Cut into wedges and serve, or split and use for sandwiches.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bordeaux Wines.
The opinions and recipe are all my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Spiced!