Eliopsomo me Diosmo

Olive and Mint Bread

INSPIRED BY the traditional olive breads of Cyprus, Chef Jim Botsacos created this focaccialike bread. Molyvos’s patrons can’t seem to get enough of it. It’s excellent as an accompaniment to cheeses or meze or simply enjoyed on its own.

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3½–4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Topping

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Method

Combine the yeast, sugar and water in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to blend. Add cups flour, salt and oil and process until well combined. Add the olives, mint and parsley and process until the dough forms a smooth ball. If it is too wet, add a little more flour; if it is too dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water.

Lightly oil a large bowl and a piece of plastic wrap. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in volume, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball. Return it to the bowl, lightly brush it with oil, cover with the oiled plastic wrap and let rise slowly in a cool place, until light and airy, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, Make the Topping

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and heat until it foams. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Place the dough in an oiled 13-x-9-inch baking pan and stretch it evenly over the bottom so it reaches the edges on all sides. Brush it lightly with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle it with the onion, parsley and mint. Let rise in a warm spot until nearly doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

At least 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake the bread on the center oven rack for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on a rack, then cut into squares.

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