Focaccia with Rosemary, Black Pepper and Garlic
Makes 2 focacce
In Tuscany, focaccia is topped with simple ingredients, susch as good extra-virgin olive oil, herbs and cheese. Other options include olives and grilled vegetables.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the baking pans
6 tablespoons fresh rosemary needles, divided
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 recipe Basic Bread Dough
Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Cornmeal (if using a baking stone)
1. Heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a small sauté pan. When the oil begins to shimmer, turn the heat off. Add 4 tablespoons of rosemary and the garlic, pressing on the mixture to infuse the oil. Set aside.
If using baking sheets:
2. Lightly brush 2 half sheet baking pans (18 inches by 13 inches) with olive oil and set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Divide the Basic Bread Dough in half and roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface to a 18-inch-by-13-inch rectangle. Place each piece on a sheet and brush the dough with half of the oil mixture. Sprinkle each half of the dough evenly with the reserved rosemary needles, black pepper and grated cheese.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the bottoms are crisp and the tops golden brown.
5. Remove from oven, cut into squares and serve hot.
If using a baking stone:
2. Place the baking stone on the middle rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500ºF. (Note that you will bake 1 focaccia at a time.)
3. Divide the Basic Bread Dough in half, and set one half aside. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 15-inch-by-13-inch diameter and place the dough on a baker’s peel dusted with cornmeal. Brush and sprinkle the dough as described above.
4. Transfer the dough from the peel to the stone using a jerking motion of the wrist.
5. Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until the bottom is crisp and the top lightly browned. Remove from the oven with the peel and place the focaccia on a rack to cool.
6. Prepare the second focaccia, place it on the baker’s peel and bake as described above. Cut each focaccia into squares, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: Throw away your pizza wheel! I use kitchen shears to cut this and other types of pizza. No struggling, just nice, even slices.