Smoked Salmon & Herbed Cream Cheese Focaccia

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There are some recipes I make that I can’t wait to post. This is one of them. This Smoked Salmon & Herbed Cream Cheese Focaccia is dynamite.

The mechanics that go in to a blog post are that I have to: 1) decide on a dish or recipe, 2) gather the ingredients, 3) cook it, 4) photograph it (in natural daylight), 5) edit the pictures, and 6) write the post – both the witty commentary and the recipe itself.

So sometimes – most of the time – after about step 4, I’m tired, and/or have to take my #1 buddy for a stroll, and/or have other non-blog responsibilities to attend to (what??), and/or just need a change of pace. I rarely take a recipe from conception to posting in the same day.

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The downside of this, of course, is that when it comes time to do the writing and posting, I often no longer have the thing I’m writing about. The food is gone. Well sometimes there is some left over, like the recent Black Bean + Bacon Soup I shared with you (that makes a huge batch!).

But not this time.

I made this recipe a week ago Saturday, when Nora was over for a “work day.” During the height of Snowzilla. Didn’t stop the guy in the background of this shot:

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Didn’t stop us either. We had a lot of exciting things to talk about … and this focaccia to eat! We demolished it.

And I am STARVING poring through these pictures.

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To give you a bit more context on this snowy Saturday, I walked Nora about half-way home when we were done, and this was the scene:

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Pretty, right?

That’s normally a street.

Although this recipe calls for quite a few components, Nora and I recommend that you do your darnedest to acquire said components before the next storm. Or before your next brunch. Or maybe just the next time you are at the store, just because. Or maybe you should make a special trip to the store.

It’s really really really good.

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I used the focaccia recipe from my Focaccia with Rosemary, Tomato, and Caramelized Onions post. Focaccia bread is just like other doughs, like pizza dough, except it has more olive oil in it (and a bit more salt). My ratio of olive oil is not overwhelming, I assure you. Some recipes use a lot more. It’s just enough to give it that special focaccia texture – that slight outer crisp and great inner chew. I divided the focaccia dough recipe in two, and froze one half after it was done rising. Half a batch was the perfect size for a 9″ x 13″ pan (it didn’t quite reach the edges). By the way, to defrost the second half, just put it in your fridge a day or two before you will be using it.

Salmon and Herbed Cream Cheese Focaccia_-5Top this focaccia with smoked salmon (I occasionally stock up with a double-pack at Costco, freezing the second pack for a future lox emergency) and the fixins you would put on a bagel with lox. Some of the toppings will go on before you bake it, and some after.

I thought the tomatoes and onions would be better hot, as they are two ingredients you may find on a traditional focaccia, so I sliced those thinly, and spaced them evenly over the dough. I used whipped cream cheese and seasoned it with dill and chives, and dolloped that on as well.

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When that was done baking, I tossed on lovingly adorned it with the smoked salmon, thinly sliced seedless cucumber, and a sprinkle of more dill and chives. And then Nora and I got to eat THIS:

Salmon and Herbed Cream Cheese Focaccia_-16The warm chewy bread, the baked cream cheese {who knew this was a thing?!} and hot tomatoes and onions, together with the crunch of the cucumbers and cool salty salmon, liberally topped with fresh herbs…. Perfection on a blizzardy Saturday morning, or any time.

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Smoked Salmon & Herbed Cream Cheese Focaccia
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Make this for your next brunch with friends or family. Or better yet, plan a brunch as an occasion to serve this unique and delicious lox-and-bagel inspired focaccia.
Author:
Recipe type: Brunch, Pizza, Breads
Serves: 1 focaccia, approx. 9"x13", 8 pieces
Ingredients
For the focaccia dough:
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water, 100-110 degrees
  • 1 t honey
  • 3.5 c all-purpose flour
  • .5 c extra virgin olive oil (divided – you will use it at a few different times, and may not use it all)
  • 1 t kosher salt
For the toppings:
  • 2 small tomatoes (like campari), sliced thinly
  • .25 of a very small red onion, sliced thinly, or just a few thin slices from a larger red onion (you may find the smaller, inner rings easier to use)
  • .25 of a seedless cucumber, sliced very thinly, or shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • huge spoonful of whipped cream cheese, a third to a half of a cup
  • dill
  • chives
  • 8 oz smoked salmon
Instructions
For the focaccia dough:
  1. In a mixer bowl, stir together yeast, warm water, and honey. Let rest until bubbles form on top and you can smell the yeast, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Stir in 3 c flour, .25 c olive oil and 1 t kosher salt.
  3. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add flour if the dough gets sticky {it’s ok if you don’t use the full 3.5 c!}. Or use the dough hook on a stand mixer.
  4. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour. Don’t worry if it doesn’t completely double! Not a big deal.
When you are ready to bake it:
  1. Lightly oil a 9″ x 13″ rimmed baking sheet, or metal baking pan.
  2. Divide the dough in half, and press and flatten it into the pan until it gets as close to touching the edges as you can get. Don't get frustrated - it's ok if it doesn't reach the edges - just keep flattening it and pushing it out farther. Using your fingers, make dimples all over the dough.
  3. Save the other half of the dough for another use.
  4. Drizzle the dough with 1 – 2 T olive oil and spread it around using your fingers or a pastry brush.
  5. Let the dough rest 20-30 minutes, until it becomes a little puffy.
  6. While it is resting, place a rack in the top third of the oven, and heat the oven to 450.
For the toppings:
  1. Arrange the sliced tomatoes and red onions evenly around the dough.
  2. Stir 1-2 T chopped dill and 1 T snipped chives into the whipped cream cheese.
  3. Drop dollops of the cream cheese (about 1-2 teaspoons worth in each dollop) evenly around the dough.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cream cheese starts to brown.
When you are ready to serve it:
  1. Separate the lox and tear it into bite-sized pieces, and evenly space them on the baked focaccia.
  2. Evenly distribute the cucumber slices as well.
  3. Finally, top with additional chopped dill and snipped chives - don't skip this step, it really adds color and flavor to this already gorgeous and delicious dish.
  4. To serve, cut into 8 pieces using a pizza cutter.

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I asked my friend LP how many pictures I could post of this recipe. I really couldn’t pick between the photos, the colors just hypnotized me. She reminded me that it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want! Hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do.

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