Whoever said that focaccia is just another boring bread saturated in olive oil is surely a fool. Focaccia is one of my favorite types of bread because of it’s textures, versatility, and the craft involved in making it. Like a good microbrewed beer, focaccia is often made slowly in order for proper fermentation to occur. Fermenting the dough allows the flavors in the bread to reach their maximum potential; achieving a somewhat fluffly, decadent, and firm result.
Often compared to pizza, focaccia doesn’t have to be the same old bread+olive oil+rosemary recipe. Many people take the time to prepare very elaborate breads with ingredients such as cheese, fresh vegetables, and herb blends. One of my favorites include an Italian-seasoned bread topped with caramalized onions, sundried tomatoes, fontina cheese, and a few fresh figs. However, since figs are incredibly difficult to find in Arizona, bottled or canned figs will suffice. When using canned or bottled figs and olives, always make sure to properly drain them; making sure that there are no foreign substances in your fruit.
A good tip for canned figs: lightly sautee them in a simple syrup to enhance the fruit’s sweetness. A simple syrup can help bring out the figs natural juices without burning, drying out, or causing the fig to fall apart.
Other good ingredients to try with your focaccia include goat cheese, ricotta, arugala, garlic, salami, and dates– however, what you choose is really up to you. You can even keep it simple with rosemary, sage, thyme, and even mint if you want to make your bread less of a meal and more of a side-dish. Of course, a simple focacccia is great for sandwich making, too!