Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Olive & Sun-dried Tomato Fougasse with Baked White Beans

Two cooling layers of finished fougasse. Yum.

I might as well admit it. I am always looking for bread recipes. I had to stop flagging interesting items in my last two baking books when I realized there were notes on every other page. Each recipe ran two pages long. And so, yes, maybe I do keep 12 pounds of butter in the refrigerator at all times. What of it? Everyone has their weakness, and mine is bakery. Period.

Another fault I have: I'm disloyal. Always looking for the greener green; swapping sides for the chewier crust, the flakiest crumb. I have another recipe for fougasse marked in my cookbook library (two, actually), but when I saw that Dorie's was loaded with olives and sun-dried tomatoes I forgot all about them.

Dorie Greenspan's recipe for Olive and Sun-dried Tomato Fougasse, printed in the November 2009 issue of Bon Appetit magazine, isn't difficult, just long. You'll have to wait overnight to test out your breads, which doesn't seem fair. But if you work from home, like I do, you'll find it's easy to run downstairs and peek at your breads throughout the day, perhaps even baking up half of the recipe over your lunch break. Unfairly, yes, but your hard work should be rewarded.

Not quite as prettily leaf-shaped as Greenspan's version, but it'll do.

The good news is that the bread bakes up fast — 20 minutes! — with a chewy crust and a puffy, light, tearable center. It was fabulous for dipping into the roasting juices from the pan of baked white beans I made (more on that below). I'm not as great at recreating the leaf shape, but, hey, it's my first attempt. This is a bread you'll quickly add to your dinner repertoire.

Pre-baking, the beans are mixed with loads of garden
fresh tomatoes, sauteed onions and fresh parsley.

Now for the beans. Every once in a while, usually once per season, George allows me to make beans for dinner. He permits their anytime use as an ingredient or side item, but serving them as the main course is mostly nixed. But these white beans, inspired by Heidi Swanson's Chipotle White Beans recipe were the beginning of something great for me. Namely, beans are a permissible main course. Me being me, I have not made either Heidi's or the original Food&Wine magazine recipe that inspired it exactly, but a weird hybrid of the ideas in both of them with things I like and have on hand. It was the weekend, so we let this sucker cook all day long. The flavors married well and the whole thing got thick and gooey, a perfect match for the bread.

Our beans featured giant dried limas that I soaked and cooked in water, flavored with garlic, bay, and a handful of fresh oregano. While they cooked, I chopped up eight tomatoes and sauteed an onion, then I mixed the two things, adding a bit of the bean cooking water to the baking dish. I also added basil salt, which I've sprinkled over everything since August. I baked them at 250º for two hours with a lid on the pan, then drained some of the liquid. I added a tablespoon of butter, dotted across the top, and then spooned over 4 tablespoons of homemade basil pesto frozen from my summer crop. Over this I grated 1/4 cup of parmesan, then I replaced the lid and let it all marry for another three hours, stirring it up a little every hour. When we were starting to starve, I took the beans out and turned the oven up to 450º to bake the bread. I cut 3 T of butter into 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs with a pinch of salt and another 1/4 cup of parmesan. I poured the crumb mixture over the top of the beans and let it crisp in the oven (no lid) for 20 minutes, until the bread was finished too.

Best meal I've had in a long time, which is great because it truly did take the whole day. I'm sure I could have put the beans into the crock pot and just finished them in the oven, but, heck, it's the weekend. Why dirty more dishes?

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails