Sfincione: Palermo Focaccia {ModBak}

Having discovered the simple and delicious Pizza and Focaccia Dough recipe in The Modern Baker, I was ready to make some focaccia.  I decided to start with the first recipe following the dough recipe in the book, Sfincione (page 115). This is a focaccia traditionally made in Palermo, Sicily, and contains ingredients often found in Sicilian cooking: tomatoes, anchovies, and bread crumbs.

While the dough was on its second rise, I made the topping. I started by sautéing onion in olive oil.

When the onion had begun to soften, I added chopped anchovies.

I stirred in tomato purée, and cooked it down for a few minutes.

I seasoned the mixture with pepper but held off on adding any salt, as the anchovies were plenty salty. I scraped the sauce mixture onto a plate and put it in the refrigerator while I gathered the remaining ingredients and prepared the crust.

I preheated the oven to 425°F. Then I dimpled the top of the dough with my fingertips. I got the sauce out of the fridge, tasted it for seasoning, and spread it evenly over the dough. I sprinkled the dough with Pecorino Romano cheese, dusted the cheese with dried oregano, and then covered the whole thing with bread crumbs. Finally, I drizzled the top of the focaccia with olive oil.

I baked the focaccia for 30 minutes, until the top was well browned.

I allowed the focaccia to cool on a pan for a few minutes, then removed it to a cutting board. I used a pizza wheel to cut the focaccia into slices.

It looked like a crumb bun, but you’d never confuse this focaccia with a sweet breakfast treat. It is savory, salty, a little fishy, and absolutely delicious. If you don’t like anchovies, this is not the dish that will make a lover out of you. But if you’re a fan of those salty little fishies, you’ll really enjoy this focaccia.

Knowing my family’s aversion to anchovies, I figured I would be eating this focaccia by myself. But that was fine with me. It just meant I didn’t have to share it with anyone.