My grandmother used to say that our cuisine holds i raggi del sole, the rays of the sun, and that focaccia represents our Puglian sun – perhaps because of the round shape suggested by its vernacular name of cucchele, circle.
If you visit Puglia, you’ll find focaccia in every bakery. At noon each day, people queue up to buy a slice before wandering off to the Corso or the port for a walk or an aperitivo.
Being light and easy to digest, focaccia is ideal as a snack, a quick lunch or an evening bite with friends.
Makes: 1 loaf
- 150g potatoes, (such as King Edward or Maris Piper)
- 500g white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 12g instant dried yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 100ml olive oil
- 1 ripe vine tomatoes
- green olives, stone in
- sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
Boil the potatoes until tender; then cool and mash.
Put the flour into a mixing bowl. Make a large well in the middle and place the mashed potatoes in it. Mix well.
In a bowl, dissolve the yeast in 125ml lukewarm water. Add the sugar.
Pour 100ml boiling water into a separate bowl. Stir in the salt.
Now make the dough. Gradually add first the yeast-water, then the salt-water, mixing with your hands until you get a smooth and slightly sticky ball of dough. Add a little more water, if necessary.
Dust a little flour on the work surface and knead the dough for about five minutes or until it’s soft and sticky. Place it back in a large bowl. Dust some flour on top and cover with a damp tea towel, making sure there’s lots of rising space. Leave to rise for two hours, or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Grease the base of a non-stick tart tin (30cm in diameter) with olive oil.
Spread to cover the base of the tin and glaze the surface with olive oil.
Roughly chop the tomatoes and push them into the surface of the focaccia, along with the olives. Season with sea salt and oregano.
Place the tin in the oven for 20 minutes, until the top of the focaccia turns golden-brown. Serve hot and crunchy.
Recipe taken from Mammissima by Elisabetta Minervini
Born in this captivating place, Elisabetta Minervini has brought the vitality of Puglian cooking to her home in London, where she has tried and tested the best traditional recipes for children and adults alike. Highlights include orecchiette (‘little-ear’ pasta) with broccoli, stuffed peppers, octopus salad and the ultimate homemade pizza – as well as a host of delicious sweet treats.
You can buy Mammissima at cooked.com.au
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing.