Now that I’ve found an easy, tasty, and reliable focaccia dough, I have enjoyed trying new focaccia and pizza recipes, like this recipe from The Modern Baker. Like the Sfincione that I made recently, the Focaccia alla Barese is part of the Yeast-Risen Specialties section of the Modern Baker Challenge. And like the Sfincione, this recipe featured anchovies, so I knew I would be eating it alone.
After making the dough, and while it was on its final rise, I made the topping. I began by sautéing onion in olive oil, then adding chopped anchovies. I seasoned with pepper (no salt, as the anchovies were salty enough on their own).
I stirred in the olives, then put the topping in the fridge to chill for a few minutes. While the onion mixture was cooling, I prepared the crust by dimpling the top with my fingers. Then I spread the topping on the crust, dusted the focaccia with the barest sprinkling of sea salt, and drizzled it with olive oil.
I baked the focaccia at 425°F for 30 minutes, until the dough was well-risen and the topping had begun to dry.
I let the focaccia cool for a few minutes on the pan, then moved it to a cutting board to finish cooling. I cut the focaccia into squares to serve.
The Focaccia alla Barese was savory and delicious. The anchovies and olives blended well and gave it a salty, yet slightly sweet flavor.
Although I enjoyed this focaccia immensely, I have to take exception with something Nick Malgieri says about it in the side note to the recipe. Nick states that the anchovies “melt into the topping and add a pleasant note of saltiness, but no stong fishy taste.” While I wouldn’t call this focaccia overly fishy tasting, you can definitely tell it has anchovies on it. And if you’re not an anchovy lover, this isn’t the dish to make a convert out of you.
But if you like anchovies, you will love this focaccia.