Is there any smell more enticing than Freshly Baked Bread? I wonder if sometimes I became a Baker just so I had an excuse to be around loaves of delicious bread all day.
Granted, these days all I smell is whatever coffee of the day I’m drinking from “The Bux” or Second Cup, as I type away on my keyboard at work, but if I had to list a scent that brings me back to the last time I wore Chef checks, it would be foccaccia.
In Ancient Rome, panis focacius was a type of flatbread baked on the oven hearth. There are many variants of foccaccia in the various regions in Italy and its environs, all hearkening back to the original recipe in some form or another. Some variants of the traditional foccaccia bread are covered on top with tomatoes and rough-chopped olives, others with fresh herbs, and yet others with cheeses, peppers, onions, eggplant or other vegetables. Today’s basic foccaccia is derived from that long-ago bread, and still retains some of its characteristics, such as using olive oil and good salt to sprinkle over the top.
I must admit, of all the innumerable choices for adorning one’s foccaccia, my favourite style, hands down, is pretty much the simplest: drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with a good quality flake salt (like Maldon sea salt), and sparsely decorated with roughly-chopped fresh rosemary. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I once ate nearly an entire pan of foccaccia bread fresh from the oven when at Chef School…I just couldn’t help myself, it was so ridiculously delicious! The ensuing stomach ache was totally worth it.
Now, there are many websites who extol the virtues (and recipes!) on how to make the perfect foccaccia, and I don’t think I can add to the conversation with yet another recipe, so instead I am going to list my five favourite recipes and link them to the admirable websites of the amazing people who have created them.
1. The Kitchn: This Easy Rosemary Foccaccia recipe is both delicious and made more nutritious by the addition of whole wheat flour. Highly recommended.
2. Terri McCarrell’s submission to AllRecipes of her delicious Foccaccia Bread recipe touts its excellence as a stand-in for garlic bread at any meal. Or every meal. Yes, that one.
3. While Jamie Oliver is always first in my heart, here he is listed as number three, for his delicious Three Flavour Foccaccia Bread recipe. Don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients or the unusual British-sounding cooking instructions; he makes recipes super-easy to follow (and he ain’t hard on the eyes, either, if you get my drift, wahwahwaaahhhh!)
4. My heroine, Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman fame (yes, she is now on the Food Network!), offers a smashing recipe for Olive Foccaccia on her beautiful website, of which I have followed for several years now. I do love that Charlie the Basset Hound!
5. Number 5 is no slouch even though it does come in numerically last: welcome to Averie Sunshine of Avery Cooks, with her amazing looking One Hour Sundried Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Foccaccia Bread recipe! Whew, that’s a mouthful!
…have I mentioned how much I love bread?
Now I KNEAD to go home and make some! (har har see wut I did thar?)
Edited to link to DailyPrompt’s Daily post (Nosey Delights)!