By Lee & Lou Havlicek.
Lee & Lou Cook.
Fresh, homemade bread can sound like one of those crazy luxuries that only people with too much time on their hands or Martha Stewart-like abilities can achieve. The thing is, it also sounds like pretty much to the nicest words in the English language, especially when strung together in the form of an offer—preferably when that offer is hot and fresh out of the oven.
The only thing that feels possibly less achievable, but equally dreamboaty: Fresh. Homemade. Pizza. We light up like Rudy in Monster Squad at the mere possibility. The determination in our faces might appear frightening to the untrained eye. We start dreaming up big, saucy cheese-filled dreams… And then we remember we’re two ladies with shit to do. Do we have time to make sauce and dough and cook up some toppings AND get everyone in one place to eat right as the pizzas come out of the oven? Some days… but not most.
The answer: Focaccia. Our focaccia recipe is like the beautiful baby of seriously good pizza and bread. Focaccia dough has two risings and rises higher than pizza. Airy, salty, soft, dimpled with little pools of olive oil (these are crucial to unmitigated focaccia joy), topped with whatever you please. A perfect mouthful. (And one of the all-time greatest midnight snacks.)
The best focaccia you’ll ever have has two secrets:
- Don’t deflate the dough after it rises. Be careful as you pull and stretch it into the pan. You want the dough to be light.
- Lots of olive oil.
Because it’s just as delicious at room temperature as it is hot—and because it might even be better the next day after the flavors have all seeped into the bread—you can even make focaccia ahead of time. (Though it does taste and smell amazing right out of the oven.) Plus, in our recipe, you don’t even have to cook the toppings before the focaccia goes in the oven. Unfussy and delicious.
Speaking of toppings, there’s no limit—vegetables, herbs, cheese, you name it. Focaccia is a delicious vehicle for whatever you’re in the mood for. And in this case, the vehicle is just as good as the goodness on top. It all works together beautifully to create the best bite. The focaccia itself is so great on its own that you could certainly make it plain, sprinkled with some sea salt and olive oil, and be really happy. But… as long as you’re in the kitchen, you might as well find a few tasty things to top it off…
For this recipe, we’ve gone fall: sunchokes and potatoes and onions and herbs. Savory, salty, fresh.
If you’re not familiar with sunchokes: welcome to the party. Also called Jerusalem artichokes, these nubby little guys are tubers (like potatoes) and do taste a little like artichokes, but with a much more delicate, almost lemony, flavor. Raw they’re crunchy, fresh, and bright (and so good thinly sliced into a salad). Cooked they’re potato-like in texture and more artichoke-y in flavor. Along with making the focaccia more delicious, adding toppings also makes it more filling. Serve a generous slice with soup or salad and you’ve got one heck of a meal. Serve smaller slices as appetizers or alongside more filling meals. But you should know: it’s really, really tough to stop at just one piece.
While this recipe takes some time from start to finish, a lot of it’s downtime. The dough takes a while to rise, but your active time is minimal, which means you can take care of everything you need to AND still sit down with some beautiful homemade focaccia once you’re done, or… wrap a slice in a napkin to-go as you run out the door to keep checking things off your to-do list. (Focaccia: you can take it with you.)…
For the recipe, and oh so much more Lee & Lou click here.