This recipe was inspired by a recipe I saw in Food and Wine and  I decided it was a perfect way to use my leftover mashed potatoes. It would work as a great appetizer or as an accompaniment to any dinner. You just can’t go wrong with fresh bread and the smell in your kitchen is simply the best.

Serving Suggestion– top the focaccia with arugula salad, shaved Manchego with lemon and olive oil– delicious!


For the dough:
1 1/4 cups leftover mashed potatoes (mine were yukon gold) -room temperature
2 tsp kosher salt
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (about 100 degrees)

1 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 cups  flour (I love to use Bob’s pastry flour, very light)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
For topping:
6 large leeks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

5 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped  thyme leaves

2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
11/2  cups shredded fontina, or monterey jack cheese

1 cup pitted niçoise olives

thyme and rosemary sprigs for garnish if desired

shaved manchego or parmaggiano or regiano
Coarse sea salt for garnish


In a medium bowl, combine the yeast with the warm water and sugar.  Set aside and allow the yeast to activate, it will become frothy (about 10 minutes).
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the yeast mixture with the mashed potatoes, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and add the flour.  Mix until potatoes are well distributed and then switch to the dough hook. Continue to knead dough until it is smooth and slightly wet and tacky.   Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic and allow the dough to rise in a warm spot for about 11/2 hours.  (I have a proof setting on my oven which is great)

Make the topping:
In a skillet, cook the leeks with the thyme and rosemary in the olive oil over low heat, stirring, until caramelized,  about 10-15 minutes, adding garlic for last couple of minutes and season with salt and pepper.  (6 leeks seems like a lot, but it reduces quite a bit.)Set aside.

Prepare Focacia for baking:
Preheat the oven to 425°. Lightly oil an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and press toward the edges to form an 11-by-17-inch rectangle. Lightly brush the dough with olive oil and let stand, loosely covered, in a warm spot until puffy, about 3o minutes. Using your fingers, make indentations all over the dough surface. Top with the leeks, cheese, sea salt.   Bake the focaccia on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is cooked through. Transfer the focaccia to a rack or cutting board and drizzle a couple of  tablespoons of olive oil. Allow to cool slightly and slice.  You can add shaved cheese at the end or additional cheese when the foccacia comes out.  It will melt on its own as the bread is cooling.  Slice in squares or strips and enjoy! Leftover foccacia can be wrapped and stored in fridge and reheated in a warm oven.