Monday, December 9, 2013

Focaccia di Recco – Treating Myself

When I treat myself to a personal “food wish,” it’s usually something I’ve eaten out and become obsessed over, and this episode is a classic case. There’s a Ligurian restaurant called Farina near us, and I’ve become a full-blown focaccia di Recco stalker. 

After watching them make it in front of me so many times, I had to give it a try. It doesn’t look like the focaccia most of us are used to, but come to find out, “focaccia” simply means any flatbread cooked in a hearth, and varies region to region.

This particular example hails from Recco, and is nothing more than some Stracchino cheese trapped in between two, super-thin layers of dough. The dough is nothing more than flour, water, olive oil, and salt; but thanks to a very hot oven, and this probably ancient technique, some serious flatbread magic happens.

As I confess in the video, I was scared to use too much cheese, but I’ll use more next time. At Farina, you can see a thin layer of the molten Stracchino oozing out between the layers. My Crescenza cheese was basically absorbed, but while you couldn’t see it, you could certainly taste it, and it was amazing.

The obvious question is, can you add other fillings to this? Yes, but don’t. It’s perfect…as long as you find the cheese. Please, find the cheese (no substitutions will be offered #toughlove). 

 By the way, I’m officially recommending the quarter sheet pan seen herein, which is what they use in the restaurant, but I think a round tart pan would work as well. In fact, from what I see online, the round pan seems to be the standard. I can’t wait to try this again, and sincerely hope you give it go as well. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 small or 1 large Focaccia di Recco (Tip for first timers: Make a double batch of dough so you have plenty to work with!)
*2 cups all-purpose flour (9.5 by weight)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp water           
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp fine salt
*use enough flour to form a soft, but not too sticky dough. Knead for about 5-6 minutes to from a smooth, elastic dough. Let rest 1 hour at room temp.
12 oz Crescenza or Stracchino cheese (6 oz for each focaccia) 
extra virgin olive oil and sea salt, to taste for the top
Bake at 500 degrees F.for about 6-7 minutes, or until well-browned


Rob said...

Pepperoni inside?

Kot Samiec said...

Will any other cheese work as well as Stracchino ?

Kot Samiec said...

Will other cheese work as well as Stracchino?

Martán said...

Excelent as always I think that your foodwish is very easy to prepare , thanks again for opening the windows of your kitchen for all of us.
Best regards Martín from Uriguay

Martán said...

Dear Chef Jhon,
Great recipe , thanks again for opening great recipes ideas to food lovers, Happy new year for you!! Martín from Uruguay

Normand Corbeil said...

love the blog! it is always a crowd pleaser.

one question:

*2 cups all-purpose flour (9.5 by weight)

9.5 ounces, grams, pounds?


bdwilcox said...

German website... *snicker*

Beth said...

A perfect texture/flavor storm. Many thanks for this tutorial!

SurprisingWoman said...

Chef John always uses American measurements in his recipes so it would be ounces.

Here is a video on how to make the cheese:

carpediem said...

Oh my gosh, thank you for this awesome recipe! Going to try this out when I go home for the holidays.

Sandy said...

I love your random old school hip hop references. My Food Wish is for you to work the Kid N Play Kick Step into one of your videos.

Nadia said...

This looks so delicious! Thanks Chef John for another wonderful recipe.

Roberto said...

I live only a few km from Liguria. Congratulations; your recipe is exactly the way our local nonne (grandmothers) make it with one exception. Rather than make two or three tears in the top layer, they would make six or eight to prevent so much puff-up. The tears would be a tiny bit larger too. That should reduce cheese loss around the edges.

And you're right; DO NOT make this into a pizza by adding anything else.

Mads Schmidt said...

Worked fine for me with mozzarella... Bottom got a bit chewy, which I guess the other cheese would prevent... Tasty and lovely nonetheless!

I did make the mistake to knead in the leftover dough for the next bread... Bam! The glutens got angry and made the next bread a nightmare to stretch out, ha ha!

Simon said...

Hey Chef John! I love your videos.
I am a student from Germany and I have recently visited Asia. I think the asian kitchen is really underrepresented in your blog. Some vietnamese and thai dishes taste incredible and its a shame that some people are avoiding these exoticness.
One classic dish wish I would to see your take on is Pho Bo, the famous vietnamese noodle soup. It really has quite a trick to it (you will be able to "let it simmer" and throw in lots of aromatic spices), and is suited for western tastes as well.
I would be really happy to see that dish pop up in my youtube feed ;) (Also I think the chilli really is a great dish for winterdays! Citron, CHili and Fresh herbs make you feel like after a sauna visit after eating the Pho Bo ;D
Keep up the great work!

Timothy Johnson said...

would love to see more of your foodwishes!

Pisaster said...

Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for stealing this recipe for us! Farina is an $$$ restaurant! Now we can make it ourselves.

lotta said...

Hello Chef John,

thank you for a great recipe. Can you find stracchino at Whole Foods in the Bay Area?

Christine Coughlan said...

Another great post and video! I love your lighthearted approach to, approachable and real. Off the wall humor gets me laughing out loud. Keep 'em comin' :-)

deach said...

Before doubling the recipe, make sure your mixer can handle it....Anyone know a KitchenAid repair man in the DC area?

deach said...

Before doubling the recipe, make sure your mixer can handle it. Anyone know a KitchenAid repair man in the DC area?

Elizabeth Beltz said...

I am sooo freaking excited to make this!! Been waiting for you to do this recipe :) where is the best place in the north bay to get this cheese?

Chef John said...

Sorry, not sure, but Whole Foods should sell it!

DCConnolly said...

Couldn't find stracchino or crescenza anywhere around here so I made this last night with fresh mozzarella and I sprinkled in some shredded parmesan also, worried the moz alone wouldn't have enough flavor.
I made 1.5x the dough, vs. chef john's recommendation to make double. It was impossible to get the dough to stretch over the edges of the tray but I stretched it as thinly as I could (with a rolling pin) and laid it on the tray, put the cheese in there, and stretched the top dough over it (with a helper). I pinched the two layers together all around the outside and it came out amazing. I cooked them almost 10 minutes at 500 and it didn't brown as much as chef john's did.
Next time I would use a double batch of dough. I was worried about the layers being too think so I did 1.5x but that won't be an issue using 2x.
I will continue to search for the correct cheese so I can see how this should really taste.
Thanks, as always, Chef John!

J Frazier said...

You can get the stracchino cheese at "wegmans" or just look online...
I made this with the stracchino and some raclet....So glad to have an alternative to pizza....Next time I will eat with some alfredo sauce, and spinach....YUMMY!!!!

Marvah Farooqi said...

Urgent Question - Can I make this without cheese inside??