I’ve made focaccia over the years, and it’s been good, but nothing I would brag about. This past Thursday my friend C. emailed to let me know about an article in that day’s Los Angeles Times food section. The article is part of a series of master classes given by well known chefs that the paper is publishing. This week’s class was given by famed bread maker and restauranteur Nancy Silverton. She has years of experience in the art of bread baking and recently did further research into focaccia. She was on a quest to create focaccia as good as she had eaten in Italy and so she went to Puglia to watch it being made.
The article offers wonderful step by step instruction to create the focaccia that Nancy developed upon her return from Italy. Having just returned from there myself and having very vivid memories of focaccia I had eaten, I decided I should attempt her recipe right away. Focaccia is really only good the day it is baked so when we were invited to a cookout with friends, I thought this would be the perfect dish to take and share.
I followed the directions to the letter and the only thing you need is time. The recipe takes about five hours from start to finish, not including the starter you’ll make the night before. Of course you aren’t working all that time, but you will need to be around to mix, shape and let the dough rise various times before baking.
I made two-one with onion and sage and another with tomatoes and oregano. It was hard to resist cutting into them when I pulled them from the oven, but I really wanted to show them off at the party. As soon as I walked in, I head straight for the kitchen, grabbed a knife and started slicing. All I can say is that it was worth all the hours of waiting around for it to happen. Actually, it was amazing-the crust was crispy and flavored with olive oil.The dough was chewy and the toppings added another layer of flavor. I’ll be back in the kitchen making these again very soon.