Roast Beef, Arugula, and Blue Cheese Sandwiches on Homemade Rosemary Focaccia Bread with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Dressing

Total Time:
1 hr 37 min
Prep:
50 min
Inactive:
2 min
Cook:
45 min

Yield:
4 sandwiches
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • Rosemary Focaccia bread, recipe follows
  • Roasted Red Bell Pepper Dressing, recipe follows
  • 4 cups arugula, stems removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 pound very thinly sliced rare roast beef
  • 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces Maytag blue cheese
  • Rosemary Focaccia:
  • 6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 envelopes (3/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F.)
  • 5 1/2 cups bread flour (or more as needed)
  • 3 teaspoons fine salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Roasted Red Pepper Dressing:
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chiffonade fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Directions

Cut 4 large, equal pieces of focaccia bread from the loaf, and cut each open lengthwise. Spread the cut sides of the bread with the red pepper dressing.

Lay the arugula on the bottom slices of bread and top with the roast beef. Arrange the onions and cheese on top, and cover with the top slices of bread. Press closed and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or waxed paper until ready to serve.

Rosemary Focaccia:

Lightly oil a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the oil and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the yeast, sugar, water, and 2 tablespoons of the oil, stir and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and the fine salt, and mix on low speed until the dough comes together and forms a ball, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 8 minutes. If the dough is still sticky, continue mixing and gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup flour.

Form into a ball and place in the prepared bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let rest in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Turn the dough out onto the baking sheet, pressing evenly across the bottom of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place until it rises until nearly doubled, 30 minutes to 1 hour. With your fingertips, make dimples in the dough at 3-inch intervals. Drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and sprinkle with the rosemary and kosher salt. Bake on the lower oven rack until just golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and using a spatula, lift from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares or other desired shapes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 1 (9 by 13-inch) bread

Roasted Red Pepper Dressing:

Place the pepper on an open gas flame and roast, turning them frequently with tongs, until all sides are charred black, 7 to 10 minutes. (Alternately, the pepper can be roasted under a broiler, or on top of a gas or charcoal grill.) Place the blackened pepper in a plastic or paper bag, and let rest until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Peel the pepper, remove the seeds and stems, and coarsely chop.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the peppers and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Combine the peppers, shallots, cilantro, basil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in the bowl of food processor or blender, and process for 20 seconds. With the machine running, add the remaining oil through the feed tube in a steady stream and process until thick and smooth. Transfer to a container until ready to serve.

Yield: about 1 cup


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