We are completely wild about this Italian cousin of our fougasse bread: the small vegetarian focaccia for a quick lunch under the shade of an olive tree or to share with friends at happy hour.
For 4 garnished focaccia
Preparation: 30 min
Resting time: 4 h
Cooking time: 1 h
Step 1: prepare the eggplant
Wash it, cut it in round slices and salt generously.
Place it in a bowl and let it drain for 2 h. Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Rinse the slices of eggplant and dry them, then place them on an oven covered with sulfurized paper. Sprinkle with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes.
Step 2: prepare the focaccia dough
Pour the flour in a big bowl and create a small well. Crumble up the yeast and dilute it in the warm water. Pour a little water in the middle of the dough and start by making a circular movement with the hand in order to softly mix the flour and the water. Add the rest of the water gradually until you have a uniform paste. Pour the olive oil, knead and form a ball without working the dough too much. Slash the paste in a cross shape, cover the bowl with a kitchen-cloth and place at room temperature away from drafts. Let the paste rise for 2 h.
Step 3: cooking time
Preheat the oven to 180 °C (th. 6). When the dough has risen well, roll over it with a pastry roller in order to obtain a rectangular shape. Oil the oven plaque and place the dough on it, cover it generously with olive oil and sprinkle kitchen salt and oregano. Bake during 10-15 min, then increase the oven temperature to 200 °C (th. 7) and cook for another 20 min. Remove the focaccia when it’s nice and golden. Let cool down.
Step 4: for the garnishing
When you are about to serve, cut up the focaccia into big squares. Set 4 aside and cut them up in two on the thick side. Garnish the 4 lower squares with arugula salad, pour a good dash of olive oil and spread out on top nice pieces of mozzarella and raw ham from Tuscany or grilled eggplant. Cover up with focaccia and serve.
The small tip?
For charcuterie fans: slip 100 g of thinly sliced raw ham from Tuscany at the same time as the mozzarella.