Fifty Shades of Focaccia
sweet Focaccia Bread,
my florentine flame,
excuse my indiscretion as i PUBLICLY recount the intimate exploits
of our passionate past.
Do you recall our spicy ménage with saffron & fig chutney tucked away in a back alley of santo spirito?
Or your sly coercion of my tastebuds into dabbling with uncharacteristic experimentation?
What about our final encounter abroad in which I consumed you raw, whole, and emotionally out of a paper bag on a return taxi to the airport for my JFK-bound departure?
I'll admit, the first months of our separation were difficult to bear. I tried replicating your likeness, but my senseless materialization tasted nothing like the familiar doughiness of you.
In our time apart I have entertained many mediocre loaf affairs of this nature, but I see it only fair that I come clean about a recent encounter that has distracted me from your physical absence.
It was a Sunday. The house was empty, the weather was cold (go figure), and I was craving your oily, warm flesh alongside a fresh pot of homemade minestrone. I chose to make whole wheat focaccia topped with rosemary and coarse sea salt, a recipe mash-up of The New York Times' Whole Wheat Focaccia and my Foodie Godmother, Marcella Hazan's Rosemary Focaccia Genoese Style.
I hope that you can reconcile this indulgence of my carnal carbohydrate cravings and the fact that I Snapchatted it live for all to see, as well as this detailed description I'm writing about now to be etched permanently into the firewalls of the interweb.
The recipe calls for one packet of active dry yeast, approximately 3 1/4 cups lukewarm water, 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour, two tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling, one tablespoon kosher salt, a few sprigs of rosemary, and coarse sea salt for cranking.
Activate the yeast following the packages' instructions, usually dissolving it with 1/4 cup of the lukewarm water. Subtract this amount from that listed my recipe.
After it is bubbling and yeasty, add it to 1 cup of whole wheat flour and combine, then mixing in the remaining cup of whole wheat plus 1 1/2 cups of white flour. Add 3/4-1 cup of water until this mixture is well-combined.
Have it out for ten minutes on a sanitized, floured surface, then oil your ball and let it rest in a bowl underneath a warm, damp towel to rise for 1 1/2 hours while you light a cigarette and gird your loins for round two.
Meanwhile, distract your parents by engaging mom's opinion on the unfocused expansion of the Ellen Degeneres empire and rewarding dad's merits to *keep it hip* and coin a new phrase.
When the dough has bulged, stretch it out on an oiled, rimmed baking sheet, allowing it to rise for another half an hour.
By this point, the bread will be eager for your touch. Preheat the oven at a steamy 450 degrees while you uncover the bread and stretch it out once more. Get rough with it, poking dimples with your thumb to create caverns for one more gentle rub down of olive oil before placing the sheet in the oven for fifteen minutes, preferably atop a ceramic baking stone.
Check on your focaccia and add a final oily drizzle and sprigs of fresh rosemary, then finish in the oven for another eight to ten minutes. Serve warm with cranks of fresh sea salt and more olive oil for drizzling because baby,
you earned it.
Catch the first episode of my amateur culinary series, Snapcooking on
The Olive Eye's brand spankin' new YouTube Channel, & add me as a friend on snapchat (username: theoliveeye) to watch future food porn roll out in live action.
In Memoriam: Rosemary Napoletano
My rosemary plant whose fragrant leaves filled the crevices of this focaccia bread and my heart for an entire week and a half.