My holiday dance card has never been quite so full as it is this year.
There are quite a few festive gatherings to get to this year and besides the overflowing fridges and kitchen counters full of wine and beer bottles, I fully expect there to be little plates and bowls of party food for guests to munch on scattered about.
Or at least I really hope so.
One really good option for your holiday party would be focaccia. It’s an easy bread to make and it’s perfect to customize. A really standard focaccia is just rosemary and sea salt, but much like pizza, you can really do your own thing with it. PLUS, you can make it ahead of time and freeze it.
A few weeks ago, after I made pumpkin and ricotta ravioli, I found myself with leftover sage and I finally, finally remembered a note I wrote in my phone probably two years ago. It said, “focaccia, sage, prosciutto, sea salt.” And what I present you with today is as simple as that. Earthy, salty, chewy, wintery focaccia.
(Not smooth and soft, ahem ^)
(This was like, 7 euros in Spain. And it’s the good stuff. When I was in Madrid earlier this year I discovered how amazing Spanish olive oil is and I brought two bottles back because it was so cheap and now I’m almost out. Weh!)
It just occurred to me that it would be fun to just drop spoonfuls of my sage and prosciutto pesto over the top of the unbaked focaccia. Next time, focaccia, next time.
I used Anne Burrell’s recipe here for the focaccia dough, and it wasn’t the best, honestly. Luckily, the finished product turned out just fine, but the dough was very shaggy and stiff instead of smooth and soft. I got kinda nervous, and not in the trying new things, adventurous way. The “I’ve done this before and this isn’t right” way.
Remember when I said Gennaro is my new go-to for basic Italian recipes in my ravioli post? Well, I should have listened to myself and tried his recipe.
(night lighting vs. morning lighting)
Besides Gennaro, there are other great focaccia recipes out there. Food52 brought Saltie’s attention to my attention and that one’s lovely. It just takes a bit of resting time. Like, overnight resting time. Sometimes you want focaccia covered in prosciutto and sage sooner than that.
Whichever recipe you go with, make some focaccia for your holiday bash this weekend! Then invite me. Cheers!
Sage & Prosciutto Focaccia
Yields: 1 large slab of delicious, oily slab of bread
1 ¾ cup warm water
1 package of active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided and plus some
Maldon sea salt for sprinkling
Handful of sage, torn
4-5 slices prosciutto, torn
- Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Put the bowl in a warm, not hot or cool, place until the yeast is bubbling and aromatic, at least 15 minutes.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, kosher salt, half a cup of olive oil, and the yeast mixture. On low speed, knead the dough until it comes together and then turn it up to medium for about 5 or 6 more minutes. It should be smooth and soft by then. If it’s still sticky, dust with some more flour.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand a few times. Form it into a loose ball.
- Coat the inside of a medium bowl with (extra) oil and drop the dough in. Cover it with plastic wrap or a dish towel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.
- Coat a baking sheet with the second half of olive oil. Place the dough on the sheet and press it out with your fingers to fill the pan. Make indentations with your fingers as you do so. Don’t be afraid to press down, the dough is resilient and if you need to patch a hole, it’ll patch easily.
- Put it in a warm place and let it double again, which should take another hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Once doubled, sprinkle evenly with the sage, prosciutto, and sea salt. Don’t be afraid to cover it – it’ll spread during baking. Drizzle with just a little more olive oil.
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden. Let it cool completely before cutting, tempting as a warm piece of bread may be. It’ll mess with the crumb if you slice into it too early!