Oaty Asparagus Focaccia from Céline’s Perennial Kitchen.
I’ve always liked ‘all in one meals’ – those with protein, veggies and carbs mixed all together that I can stick in a tupperware and bring to school. I decided it was time to make a veggie bread with a perennial twist so I experimented with this dough recipe and it turned out to be some sort of an Italian focaccia !
This recipe takes some time, so I suggest making it if you want to relax in the kitchen on a Sunday evening and you need some time to tidy up or if you want something to cook with a friend. I’ve added a petit pois/ pea dip recipe that will keep in the fridge if you find yourself twiddling your fingers !
I enjoyed this bread with a side of home-made kimchi or a salad.
Asparagus Asparagus officinalis, is a spring , flowering perennial plant species in the genus Asparagus , prized for its delicate stalks. Asparagus officinalis is native to most of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. It does take a few years to establish, but once it does – it is incredibly rewarding and will keep producing stalks year after year !
“This vegetable is one of the best examples of the ‘sleep, creep, leap’ aspect of perennial food plants: The first year, they sleep and don’t show themselves at all. The second year, you might see a couple of piddly little stalks here and there, but it’s best to just leave them be and let them go to compost. The third year, they spring up and wave hello with enthusiasm, and you should have a small harvest to gnaw upon. Yields will get more substantial every year after that, so if you’re patient, and plan to stay on your current property for a while, you’ll be rewarded”. (Inhabitat.com)
“In ancient times, it was also known in Syria and in Spain. Greeks and Romans ate it fresh when in season, and dried the vegetable for use in winter; Romans even froze it high in the Alps, for the Feast of Epicurus. Emperor Augustus created the ‘Asparagus Fleet’ for hauling the vegetable, and coined the expression ‘faster than cooking asparagus’ for quick action”. (Wikipedia.com)
Prep time (including time needed for dough to rise): 1h10 min
Cooking time: 40 min
Preheat oven @ 200ºC/400ºF
- 2.5 cups spelt flour (or wheat)
- 2 cups oat flour (put oats in blender)
- 1 + 1/3 cups lukewarm water
- 1tbsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp yeast
Mix all the bread ingredients in a bowl with a fork, cover with a tea towel and put in a warm place for 50 min. (* Don’t wash the blender yet, you’ll need it for the dip! )
- 1 red pepper
- 1 bunch of asparagus ~ 10
- 2 onions
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/8 cup olive oil
Chop up the pepper and asparagus in small pieces , chop the ends of the onions and garlic and place in the loaf tin/container you want to cook your bread in . Drizzle with olive oil
Place in the pre-heated oven for 40 min
While your veggies are cooking and your dough is rising, prepare the following:
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp hot chilli powder
- dried rosemary sprigs (I used 4long sprigs !)
- 2 tbsp dried oregano or thyme
- 2.5 handfuls of sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
While you are waiting for veggies to cook, chop up the sun-dried tomatoes and get all your other things out.
(* there is some time to prepare the petit pois dip recipe here )
After 40 min, remove the veggies from the oven, put 1 onion to the side, and peel and chop the other with a knife and fork. In the same manner, squeeze out the garlic cloves and chop them up. (* Don’t wash the tin yet, you’ll need for the bread! )
Take the dough out and remove the tea towel, mix in veggies and all seasonings. Leave in a warm place with the tea towel for 10 min.
While you wait 10 min, grease the pan you used to cook the veggies and chop the second onion.
Remove the dough from the bowl and pour it into your pan leaving 2 cm for it to rise (if you need more space just grease a small pan or bowl and use that too!) . Drizzle with olive oil and add chopped onion. Sprinkle a little more dried herbs and a pinch of coarse salt.
Put in the oven and bake for 35-40 min. (After 10 min simply poke a few holes in the dough so it doesn’t pop!). Place a knife in the bread to see if it is ready.
Optional Petit-pois dip:
- 250g baby peas/petit pois, frozen or fresh
- 2 handsful fresh coriander (or parsley, or basil) leaves and stalks
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 2 tbsp tahini (or olive oil)
- 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 pinch salt
Cook the peas in boiling water (2 to 6 min, depends on size and whether they are frozen). Pour cold water over the peas when you strain them to cool them down.
Place everything in the food processor (if it’s too sticky process everything in 2 batches & add a little water ). Store in airtight container in the fridge.