Focaccia Bread with Onion and Rosemary

Cooking for a Crowd, Recipes, Weekend Cooking


In college, I went to a fraternity formal with a guy.

A guy that I liked.

That might be par the course for most girls, but at a small school, I didn’t belong to a sorority and had fewer opportunities to, well, fraternize.

Not to mention the fact that in high school, I probably would have been awarded Most Likely to Die Alone if there were such an award and if it were based on one’s ratio of school dance dates.

Now, this isn’t one of those posts, where I whine and whine and whine about all of the injustices that are adolescence.

I had friends who were as happily dateless as I was to giggle in the girls’ bathroom with during slow songs.

I also had little shame in my teenage years and I asked plenty of cute boys to dance.

Really, don’t feel bad for me, because I probably spent a good part of 1997 swaying to the Backstreet Boys in a high school cafeteria.

I digress.

On the night of the formal, my date, our friends and I made dinner at my apartment before we all headed out for the evening.

We made pasta, defrosted homemade tomato sauce that someone’s mother had left in the freezer and opened a bag of salad to toss with bottled Caesar dressing.

Already a budding overachiever cook, I made focaccia bread from a boxed mix with simple instructions that, in my haste to do my hair and make-up, I must have misread.

The bread was tasty, but it didn’t rise quite as much as I’d hoped.

In other words, it looked very, very homemade.

Now I know that real, artisan bread doesn’t come shaped in perfectly round loaves with precise dimples and valleys.

Though my bread didn’t quite rise, I received the praise I was looking for and not a crumb was leftover.

As successful as the focaccia bread (and the rest of the date) was, I have ever since been on a quest to find and bake a better focaccia bread.

A real focaccia bread with the dimples, valleys and crust that my first bread lacked.

And, oh boy, I found it.

Focaccia Bread with Onion and Rosemary
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
  • Olive oil for greasing cookie sheet
  • 1 pound (approx. ⅓ recipe) Artisan Bread in 5 Olive Oil dough (or your favorite pre-mixed dough)
  • ¼ medium white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon for drizzling
  • ¾ teaspoon dried rosemary leaves (or 1½ teaspoons fresh)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, for sprinkling on top
  1. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 425F, with an empty broiler tray on any shelf that won't interfere with the focaccia. The baking stone is not essential when using a cookie sheet; if you omit the stone, preheat can be as short as five minutes.
  2. Grease a cookie sheet with a bit of olive oil or line with parchment paper or Silipat. Set aside. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with the flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit sized) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
  3. Flatten it into a ½-3/4-inch-thick round, using your hands and/or a rolling pin and a minimal amount of flour. Place the round on a prepared cookie sheet.
  4. Sauté the onion slices in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until softened but not browned; if you brown them they'll burn in the oven. Strew the onion sparingly all over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border at the edge. Allow the majority of the dough surface to show through the onions as bare dough (you may have leftover onion at the end). If you can't see most of the dough surface you're using too much onion and the focaccia won't brown correctly).
  5. Sprinkle with rosemary, coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Finish with a light drizzle of remaining olive oil over the surface, about 1 teaspoon but not so much it starts dripping over the sides (as with the onion you won't cover the whole surface with oil).
  6. Allow the focaccia to rest and rise for about 20 minutes.
  7. After the focaccia has rested place the cookie sheet on a rack near the center of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the crust is medium brown. Be careful not to burn the onions. The baking time will vary according to the focaccia's thickness. Because of the olive oil, focaccia will not develop a crackling crust.
  8. Cut into wedges and serve warm.
For more mouth-watering bread or dough recipes visit: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.

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  • Reply
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    […] bread doughs, but also a perfect base for moist cookies, brownies and flaky pastries. You can bake baguettes with all-purpose flour, so light and crusty that you’ll swear you’d been transported to […]

  • Reply
    Solar Arizona
    April 30, 2010 at 11:23 am

    I have fresh rosemary in my garden and I can tell you there is NOTHING that compares! Must be fresh. This looks to die for!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    i’m late for this drawing however i did want to pop in to say, whoa, you danced to Backstreet Boys in 1997 too?! except i was in college, in some dingy frat house. good times.
    i <3 fococcia bread and i keep meaning to make it, yours looks beautiful.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Oh too bad I missed the deadline. But mine was eggplant parmesan.Led to a marriage proposal. I made it. He fell in love. Love your blog.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Onion Focaccia was actually the first thing I cooked for my husband. We had just met the week before and he invited me over to his house for a dinner party. I wanted to cook him something that would make him feel at home, since he was from Italy and just visiting for six months.
    It worked, and two years later we got married!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    It looks perfect Maris! I love foccacia, it’s just so yummy with the onions on top 🙂

  • Reply
    August 6, 2009 at 9:13 am

    My boyfriend cooked us bacon wrapped scallops one valentine’s day in college. It seemed so gourmet back then, espcially since we were in this tiny, messy, studio college apartment with a stove half the size of normal ones. It was very cute though 🙂

  • Reply
    August 5, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    The focaccia looks wonderful!
    Oh, I have many great meals, but the meal that “sealed the deal” with my husband was the very first day we met. My friends and I had rented a small place on the beach. I had just met this guy (future hubbie) and later, when my friends and I were going back in for dinner he said he would wait for us to finish. I felt bad seeing him just sitting out there so we invited him in. Alas, we made spaghetti with sauce (jar sauce no less, we were only 21 then) and by the time we decided to invite him in all the sauce was gone. Now he’s Italian, he knows good sauce…but spaghetti with NO sauce…blasphemy!
    Yet, he still claims to this day that when I put down a place setting for him he heard bells. That was 32 years ago. I have since cooked him many wonderful meals, but that is one he will never forget!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    best date meal: probably sushi. My brother and I began hosting sushi parties in college and it carried over into my adult life; when I first started dating my husband, I wowed him with a giant array of fresh sushi. His marriage proposal probably wasn’t a direct result of that meal, but he was pretty impressed.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2009 at 1:46 am

    Haha…I find so much joy and comfort in your story. I used to make focaccia with my grandmother and have since not been able to make it for a boyfriend or date. Focaccia is the secret trick I will use to snag “Mr. Wonderful” someday. You have inspired me to make it again for myself! Awesome! Thank you!

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Your focaccia looks delicious! Years ago, my boyfriend surprised me by grilling fish for dinner and having it ready when I walked in the door. We’re still together.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    You are do darn adorable, I have a hard time believing boys weren’t knocking down your door!
    When I was in college I dated a guy who was 100% Italian.
    The first date at his house was incredible… Homemade pasta, bread, sauce, cheesecake. Mmmmmmm!

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Hiya! Finally found my way here, lol! I’m not entering your contest but I LOVE the look of this bread and I totally want to try making it. I may be at risk of eating it all myself though…

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Backstreet boys? Really?

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    well, I’ve never cooked for a date or had a date cook for me, so I will be sitting out this giveaway.
    but…that focaccia? it looks heavenly and I bet it smells that way too.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I can’t remember the “best” meal I ever cooked for date night, but I can remember the worst: tuna noodle casserole for my high school sweetheart. God knows what I was thinking back then, but I was only a teenager and tuna in (basically) mac & cheese with hard-boiled eggs seemed like a lot of work. He actually ate 3 platefuls.
    My how things have (thankfully) changed!

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Great read! Oh, the pain and peer pressure of adolescence..never want to go through that
    That said, did anyone ever tell you you look a little like Holly Hunter?
    On yet another note, that focaccia looks divine. I love onions on focaccia, and yours look golden aand perfect!
    Finally, the first and best meal I ever made for a guy (I say ‘best’) because it was my first for my first love..was lasagna from scratch, well..sort of..i bought the sauce, but told him it was homemade..hehe *hiding* A year or two later, we had some pasta with Prego and he said innocently..”WOW, this tastes almost as good as your sauce!” LOL

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 11:05 am

    So I just have to say that bread is my weakness. This looks great!
    As far as one of the best meals I’ve cooked for a date… I would have to say that it would be one while my husband and I were dating. He had lived in Brazil for two years and had only been back for a year before we met.
    I made pao de queijo (from a mix that I ordered online, after trying to find a recipe that wasn’t in Portuguese – pao de queijo is a cheese bread that is made in little balls), Brazilian potato salad, lemon-pepper salmon, and we had guarana (pronounced gwah-duh-nah) to drink.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 10:45 am

    nice loaf…..I cooked crepes that were a huge hit and the biggest hit for me was when I was about 19 and my date made chicken and dumplings – I can still remember like it was yesterday.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 10:35 am

    That looks delicious!! I love foccacia bread, I may have to try this recipe (although I have a feeling it’d be a mess–I’ve never actually made bread!)
    I can’t say I have a favorite anyone ever cooked FOR me (its rare anyone ever does!) but my favorite that I made had to be the bratwurst and german potato salad I made one year for a past boyfriend’s birthday. It was so delicious and I worked so hard on it. It actually came out really good but I do remember there being a few small disasters in the kitchen. 🙂

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 10:18 am

    hmmmm…best meal? I would have to say the very first meal my now husband cooked for me. He invited me over for Valentine’s Day (our first real date) and made homemade fried chicken, salad, and homemade biscuits. Not super gourmet, but it was delicious and he MADE it instead of taking me out somewhere – so sweet.
    that focaccia looks great! and the sauces/salsa sound awesome

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 8:27 am

    I made a rockstar salmon with a glaze made of pure maple syrup, soy sauce, and brown sugar- broiled with chopped garlic. It was a hit! Wish I cooked like that more often, I will definately try your bread!

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Oooh, that looks good!
    Let’s see…an ex and I once made grilled kebabs that were so, so good. They were nothing fancy, but just really good. I’ve also made a chicken saltimbocca that I was rather impressed with. Ha, my boyfriend loved it too, and asked me to make it again, so that must be a good thing, right?

  • Reply
    healthy ashley
    August 4, 2009 at 8:13 am

    I would love to try these sauces!!
    And your focaccia looks to die for!

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Funny you mention Focaccia because I am making that this weekend because of the Bread Baker’s Apprentice and was going to make it for a date too. I like the onion topping because the farmer’s market has been flooded with great looking onions of all types.
    For my dates I always have a go to dish which is veal stuffed shells with a ton of cheese in it. Type of dish I can make ahead of time and cook off so I am not a mad dash scrambler try to get everything done.
    As far as high school dances I went to 2 in 4 years. One was a last minute friend got dumped and she wanted a date and the other was a prom date who we ended up breaking up a week later.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 8:05 am

    The best meal a date ever cooked for me? Hmm. It was a about week ago and it was the first time I ever had a meal actually cooked for me – I just stood there and watched the prep, the cooking, the plating. It was a chorizo and egg breakfast with garden fresh herbs, tomatoes and serranos. Then topped with a creamy cheese served on top of a warmed tortilla.
    Nothing has ever tasted that good…

  • Reply
    kim/hormone-colored days
    August 4, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Looks great. The onions might be a bit much for a date but what do I know, I’m an old married lady. 😉

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 7:55 am

    (a) This foccacia looks beyond amazing. YUM. I am making this sometime soon.
    (b) Greek chicken for my old boyfriend who was, by coincidence, Greek. It was kind of like the one thing that I knew I could make well, and the irony was my mom made it for us a day or two later, too.

  • Reply
    Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    August 4, 2009 at 7:08 am

    This one’s easy — the best meal a date ever cooked for me was beef bourguignon. I was so impressed that I married the guy!

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 4:57 am

    Can you say perfection!

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