Focaccia is a great snack you can make starting with a basic pizza dough, whether homemade or store-bought: spread it out on a cookie sheet or shallow rectangular baking pan, poke it all over with your fingers, then top with rosemary, sale grosso, pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil, and bake it in the oven until golden. Super-simple but really, really tasty. So tasty that I bet you’ll have a hard time not turning that snack into a full meal….
- 1 batch pizza dough, either homemade (see this post) or store-bought
- 2-3 springs of fresh rosemary
- Coarse sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Olive Oil
Take your fully risen dough and spread it out with you hands in a well-greased cookie sheet or shallow rectangular baking pan, making sure the dough covers the whole bottom, including the corners. Poke the dough all over with your fingers. (This creates little depressions to catch the oil and flavorings.)
Strip the rosemary leaves off their stems and chop them roughly with a knife or mezzaluna. Sprinkle the rosemary all over the top of the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the sea salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. Drizzle the top generously with olive oil.
Let the dough rest in a warm place for a while so it rises again. Depending on how ‘fluffy’ you like your focaccia, you can let it rest as little as 30 minutes or as much as 1-1/2 hours. (Recipes vary wildly on this point; I usually go for an hour.)
Pop the dough into a moderately hot over (180C/350F), preferably with the convection function on, for about 30 minutes or so, or until the top is browned to your liking. (Again, I like mine crunchier than most.)
Take the pan out of the oven, let things cool off a bit on a rack and eat!
Focaccia is equally good, in my book, either warm from the oven or at room temperature. I like mine with lots of seasonings (as you can tell from the photos!) but most you will find are much more restrained.
The genius of the dish, of course, is in the toppings, which really should be of the best-quality you can find: fresh rosemary (in my case, just picked from my herb garden), coarse best-quality sea salt, freshly ground aromatic black pepper and nice, fruity olive oil. If you want to take it to the next level, then make your own pizza dough and let it rise slowly, overnight, for full flavor.
The Tuscans have another word for this focaccia: schiacciata, which means ‘crushed’ or ‘flattened’, a reference to the way that you flatten the dough out and poke it with your fingers.