I’m not one to shy away from the bread basket at restaurants, but I will generally pass if the offering is focaccia as I often find it too dense and dry for my taste.
However, this past Friday at a dinner capping off a week-long work seminar, I was seated next to a group of ravenous participants who dove in to that basket of assorted breads with stealthy speed and precision leaving me with just one sad little piece of focaccia. Note to self: if I’m ever selected to represent my district in The Hunger Games, my canon boom will go off in ohhhh….12 seconds.
This focaccia, though, was amazing…salty and garlicky and layered with fragrant olive oil and, while thick, not the least bit dense. The following morning, I was perusing The Kitchn and one of the first posts was a recipe for easy focaccia. Taking it as a sign, I made the bread for dinner that night.
The only change I made to the recipe was to infuse the olive oil that is drizzled over the dough just before it is put into the oven with two smashed garlic cloves. I also sprinkled additional Maldon sea salt on my slice as I like my focaccia really salty. All in all, I think this was a nice rendition of focaccia and very simple to make (no hand kneading required).
Focaccia is a yeasted flat bread popular in Italy that, according to a number of online sources, may have originated with the Etruscans in Northern Central Italy, or the Ancient Greeks. Focaccia was known as “panis focacius” in Ancient Rome with “panis” meaning bread and “focaccia” derived from the Latin “focus” meaning “fireplace” or “hearth.”
Focaccia is enjoyed as a dipping bread in Italy and is not used for sandwiches as you often find in the United States. Focaccia is also considered to be the precursor to pizza and so I have built a shrine to it.