Focaccia Filled with Italian Cured Meat, Rocket and Ricotta

    

Focaccia is an Italian flat bread based on the same recipe as a pizza base. It is quick to make and is excellent served with a good cold pressed olive oil. I like to use half Italian Tipo 00 flour to create a crisp bread but if you can just use bread flour if you like. In this recipe the foccacia is filled with a tasty selection of Italian cured meats, rocket and ricotta. Of course you can vary the filling using different cheeses, herbs and vegetables eg. roasted peppers, sun dried tomatoes, olives, tomatoes etc. This makes a delicious bread hot or cold and an excellent accompaniment on a picnic.

Portions: 6 Portions

Preparation: 60 minutes

Cooking: 20 minutes

Ingredients

Focaccia

  • 250g OO Tipo Flour or strong flour (bread flour)
  • 250g strong flour (bread flour)
  • 15g fresh yeast or 1 sachet of dried yeast or 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 300ml warm water
  • 3 tbsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • maldon salt

Filling

  • 50g rocket
  • 200g thinly sliced Italian cured meats: Parma ham, Milano salami and Mortadella (a mixture or just one variety)
  • 500g ricotta

To Cook

  • 1-2 tbsp rosemary sprigs, without stems
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • maldon salt

To Serve

  • extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Yeast: Place the yeast in a container with the olive oil and add the warm water and stir it together until the yeast has dissolved, if you are using dried yeast leave it to foam before using.
  2. Dough: Place the flour, rosemary and a little salt in a mixing bowl or on a work top and mix together so that they are well combined. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture and gradually work the flour into the yeast mixture and knead it until it is smooth or mix it with a dough hook on a low speed until it forms a ball and comes away from the sides (this should take around 5 minutes). The dough should be moist but not wet.
  3. Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough in it, cover the bowl with cling film or a clean tea towel. Leave it in a warm place until it has risen to double its size.
  4. Filling: Preheat an oven to 220°C. Remove the risen dough from the bowl and knead it into 2 equal size balls. Roll the ball dough's out so that they are about 20cm round and about 1cm thick. Oil a baking tray and place 1 round of dough on it. Scatter the rocket over the dough, followed by pieces of cured meat (evenly spread out) and finally scatter over the ricotta. Seal the filling in with the second piece of dough, pressing it around the edges .Cover the dough with the tea towel and set it aside in a warm place for 20-30 minutes to rise.
  5. To Cook: Make thumb marks all over the bread. Press rosemary sprigs all over the dough, sprinkle over lightly crushed maldon salt and drizzle over the olive oil.
  6. Place the baking tray in the centre of the preheated oven and cook it for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 190°C and leave it to cook for a further 20-30 minutes until it has risen and is golden brown.
  7. To Serve: Serve the foccacia drizzled with olive oil, hot or cold on its own or with a light salad. The bread is best eaten as fresh as possible.
  • For a plain focaccia simply leave out the filling, this recipe will make 2 medium ones or one large focaccia