GF Friday: Caramelized fennel and black olive gluten-free focaccia

Nov 7, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Focaccia really is simplicity at its best. Some standard ingredients for focaccia include coarse salt, pepper, olive oil and herbs. For something a bit different, I thought fennel would make a tasty topping for this recipe, and I was right. Its slight anise flavor is perfect with the slightly salty olives.

Caramelized fennel and black olive focaccia

It's easy to make focaccia (especially with a stand mixer, but it's not a requirement), and it makes a great starter for any gathering, whether you've got the family together or friends over watching the game. Why not try your hand at focaccia? You might find yourself loving its simplicity.

Caramelized fennel and black olive focaccia

Note: Gluten can be found in many different foods and products, from ketchup to soy sauce to candy and seasonings. While SheKnows tries to ensure that these recipes are gluten-free, carefully read the ingredient labels of all food and food products you use for these recipes to ensure they are also gluten-free.

Caramelized fennel and black olive focaccia recipe

Fennel is an out-of-the-ordinary (and delicious) topping for focaccia, but you could also add fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, onions or peppers. Don't forget the cheese — Parmesan works best sprinkled over the top just before baking.

Serves 6-8

Prep time: 5 minutes | Inactive time: 35 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Total time: 1 hour


  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 ounce active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 cups all-purpose gluten-free baking flour, plus extra to flour the work surface
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fennel, ends trimmed, core removed, cut into narrow strips
  • 1/3 cup black Kalamata olives, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, for garnish


  1. To a small bowl, add the water along with the honey. Stir until the honey melts. Sprinkle the yeast over the top, and allow it to sit for 3 to 4 minutes, until it gets a bit frothy.
  2. To a large bowl, add the gluten-free all-purpose flour, the brown rice flour and the salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add the dry mixture to a stand mixer attached with the dough hook. Add the yeast mixture and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and mix on low speed until the dough is smooth, about 8 to 10 minutes. If you don't have a stand mixer, then you can mix the dough in a large bowl, scraping down the sides, punching down and kneading the dough as you go.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a flat surface, and add about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to your hands. Smooth your hands over the dough, and transfer it to a bowl. Cover it with a clean towel. Let the dough sit in a warm spot for 25 to 35 minutes, until the dough rises to about double in size.
  5. As the dough is rising, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the fennel, and cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until the fennel turns golden. Remove, and set aside.
  6. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil to a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  7. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, and punch it down 3 to 4 times. Roll and stretch the dough to the size of the baking sheet (or smaller) and about 1/2 inch thick.
  8. Use your fingers to poke small wells around the dough. Brush the top of the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread the fennel evenly across the top along with the olives. Sprinkle with the remaining salt, the black pepper, red pepper and the Parmesan cheese.
  9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges and top begin to turn golden. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with the parsley.
  10. Slice into squares or rectangles, and serve warm.

Serve up a slice of focaccia.

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