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Spelt Focaccia with Kale, Squash and Pecorino

Paul Kahan serves dishes like spicy pork rinds at his Chicago restaurant, The Publican, but he was game to create a healthy alternative. His idea: a focaccia made with spelt flour, which is high in protein and gives the bread an appealingly hearty texture. Instead of using an excessive amount of cheese or meat, he tops the focaccia with tangy marinated kale, soft and sweet slices of winter squash and a few shavings of nutty, salty pecorino cheese.

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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 2 cups spelt flour (see Note)
  • One envelope dry active yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling
  • 2 cups finely shredded stemmed kale, preferably Lacinato
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 small Delicata squash (about 8 ounces)—halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 ounce shaved fresh pecorino cheese (about 1/2 cup)


  1. In a large bowl, combine the spelt flour with the yeast, water, honey, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and stir until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just until smooth, no more than 1 minute. Oil the bowl and return the dough to it. Let the dough rise, covered, in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough, then transfer it to the baking sheet and press it into a 12-by-8-inch oval. Brush with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Press small indentations all over the dough and sprinkle with the rosemary and sea salt. Let the dough stand uncovered for 45 minutes, until slightly risen. Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake the focaccia for about 30 minutes, until lightly browned all over.
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, toss the kale with the lemon juice, crushed red pepper and 1 teaspoon of oil. Squeeze the kale gently to soften it, then let it stand for 20 minutes.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the squash, season with kosher salt and cook over moderately high heat until golden, 2 minutes. Turn the squash, add the garlic and cook over moderately low heat until the squash is tender, 5 minutes.
  5. Top the focaccia with the kale and squash and bake for 1 minute longer, to heat the vegetables. Scatter the pecorino on top, cut into wedges and serve.


Spelt is a type of wheat with a nutty, sweet flavor. Look for spelt flour in health-food stores.

One Serving 380 cal, 57 gm carb, 11 gm fat, 2.5 gm sat fat, 11 gm protein, 10 gm fiber, 610 mg sodium.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published March 2010

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