Recipe developer Erin McDowell just saved the holidays twice over: Once with a genius entertaining tip, and again with this gorgeous (and simple!) scallion and chive flatbread.
“One of the things my mom has always done at my family’s holiday celebrations, and that I’ve adopted, is that she always puts out a couple of things that she doesn’t have to cook right at the beginning, so no one is hovering around her waiting for food: a couple different kinds of cheese, some olives, nuts, charcuterie,” McDowell tell us. “It’s such a simple thing that seems obvious to me now, but it’s like the tip that will save people’s holidays.”
“This is a great recipe to add because it would go with cheese and meat and whatever,” she continues, “and you can make it the day before and it’s just as delicious. It’s a very easy recipe, but it looks incredibly impressive. It’s a simple flatbread—a lot like making pizza dough or focaccia—and it only needs an hour to rise. It’s just a few ingredients, but with some thoughtful arrangement of scallions and chives on top, you get this almost blooming garden effect. It’s delicious as is, with a little bit of Parmesan and flaky sea salt, but if you want to kick it up a notch, you can add edible flowers to the top and everyone is just going to think you’re the bee’s knees.”
It’s so pretty, we might not be able to eat it. (Oh, who are we kidding?)
Apple Focaccia with Blue Cheese and Herbs
3½ cups (420g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1¼ cups (282g) warm water, or as needed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
⅓ cup (about 15g) finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 bunch (about 135g) scallions, ends trimmed
½ bunch (about 25g) fresh chives
Flaky sea salt, as needed for finishing
Edible flowers (optional), for finishing
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and pepper to combine. Add the water and olive oil, and mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. If it’s dry, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time until it forms a shaggy ball around the hook. Raise the speed to medium and mix for 4 minutes, or until smooth.
2. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.
3. Grease a baking sheet lightly with olive oil. Transfer the dough onto it and use your fingers to stretch and press it until it’s about 8 inches long by 16 inches wide. Stipple the dough lightly with your fingers and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise while you preheat the oven.
4. Preheat the oven to 450°F. When the oven is preheated, brush about half of the butter over the surface of the dough and sprinkle the Parmesan over in an even layer.
5. Arrange the scallions and chives evenly over the surface of the bread. Brush the remaining butter over the surface of the scallions and chives. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Transfer to the oven and bake until the bread is golden brown and the scallions and chives begin to char, 20 to 25 minutes.
6. Cool at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving warm, or cool completely and serve at room temperature. Just before serving, garnish with the edible flowers.
Note: You can buy edible flowers, such as the micro-orchids pictured, from online retailers such as Gourmet Sweet Botanicals (McDowell’s preferred brand).