focaccia di Recco (stuffed Italian flatbread)

focaccia di recco (Italian flatbread)Most people have eaten focaccia famous around the world from Liguria, Italy but I’ll bet a pound to a penny few have tried the version from Recco (a town near Genoa).  Yours truly is one of those who most defintely haven’t sampled and what a tragedy!  I was checking my Instagram feed and saw a photo of someone eating focaccia di recco.  At first, I thought it was a pizza.  After searching the web I found a few recipes.  I wasn’t pleased with the first attempt as I felt the extra-virgin olive oil amount was too much.  On my second attempt I reduced the amount of olive oil and I liked the way the dough rolled out.  The dough needs to be ultra thin.  This is a crowd-pleasing, finger food appetizer!  One bite and you will be hooked or like me, wondered how I survived this long without it!

Serves 4 to 6 (as a snack)
4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups cold water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 lb. or more crescenza cheese (I used double cream brie)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup grated or finely chopped Parmesan

In a stand mixer with dough hook add flour and salt. Mix to combine. Then add water and olive oil. Mix until dough forms and is smooth. Remove from mixer and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for an hour at room temperature. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Roll out dough and use your hands to stretch it out. Try to keep it round and as thin as possible, almost transparent.

Preheat oven to 500f (260c). Grease a baking dish with extra virgin olive oil (I used a 13-inch pan). Place one layer of dough on the bottom of the pan. Add the cresenza cheese in pieces using your hands. Sprinkle with minced garlic and Parmesan.  Then lightly drizzle with olive oil.Cover the cheese with the second sheet of dough. Cut away any excess and pinch the edges together (keeps the cheese from oozing out). Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over top and sprinkle with sea salt. Make little tears by pinching the dough with your fingers (helps steam to escape and allows dough to bubble up). Bake 8 to 10 minutes until golden and bubbly. To help this along, turn broiler on after 8 minutes.  Cut and serve as finger food.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  The traditional recipe does not include garlic or Parmesan but it’s so darn delicious with it!  Enjoy!