Joe Triv­elli’s Fo­cac­cia from Recco Fo­cac­cia Di Recco

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Food -

Recco is a town on the Lig­urian coast be­tween Gen­ova and Portofino. If you go there you can eat this on the street or at a fo­cac­ce­ria, where it is treated more like a pizza. If you’d like to make a large one, it’s eas­ier to do it with an­other pair of hands, stretch­ing the dough very gen­tly be­tween you. The stretch­ing of this dough re­quires a light­ness of touch and a min­i­mum of pulling. If you’ve never had this be­fore I think you should opt for the plain ver­sion, but you can also ‘pizzerise’ with a tomato and herb top­ping and a lit­tle oil be­fore bak­ing, if you like. Mix the flour and milk to­gether un­til you have a dough, then trans­fer to a clean work sur­face for knead­ing. Lightly flour the bench if the dough is tacky. Knead it con­stantly, ro­tat­ing it all the while, and flour­ing the work­top where nec­es­sary, for about 4 min­utes or longer if your batch is big­ger. It quickly feels very smooth on the out­side and will bounce back when pressed with your fin­ger­tip.

When smooth to the touch, cover well and leave to rest for at least 30 min­utes.

Pre­heat the oven to 220˚C/400˚F/Mark 6 and oil a light, large non-stick bak­ing tray.

Cut the dough into two roughly equal amounts, but make one slightly big­ger than the other. Use the big­ger one for the base. Roll it out into a rec­tan­gle as thinly as pos­si­ble, to about 2mm. Keep the tray you are go­ing to use be­side you to help you gauge the size and be­gin to work with your hands. The aim is to make some­thing thin­ner than reg­u­lar pasta, al­most as thin as filo. The un­der sheet can be slightly thicker than the top but make sure that it doesn’t have any holes in it. The sec­ond will have holes made in it, so it’s not as much of a prob­lem.

Work with your hands to­gether as if you were pray­ing but with the dough sheet draped over. Care­fully move your hands apart, but do this very gen­tly, al­most as though try­ing not to stretch the dough. It will, how­ever, do so. Hop the dough on your hands so that it turns around by 45 de­grees at first and re­peat. Pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to the edges of the dough, not the cen­tre, which will nat­u­rally be pulled by the weight of the dough. Stretch the parts that are thicker and avoid those that look too thin.

When large enough to fit, place on the bak­ing tray and dot with pieces of stracchino cheese. Stretch out a sec­ond piece of dough, ide­ally slightly thin­ner. Place on top of the cheese and cut around the edges with a knife. Crimp the border to­gether and tear a few holes in the top. Lightly sprin­kle with olive oil and salt be­fore bak­ing.

Bake for 8 min­utes un­til golden and slightly bub­bling through the holes. Eat im­me­di­ately and make an­other straight away.

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