I love making my own focaccia – there is something very therapeutic about making and shaping the dough. Here is a recipe for lemon focaccia which goes beautifully with fish but is equally delicious with a dollop of yoghurt or sour cream as a treat. It is also perfect cold for a picnic. I found this recipe in the June 2013 issue of Feast Magazine and have made it very successfully several times. It is recommended that you use Meyer lemons in this recipe as they are not as acidic as the more common Lisbon and Eureka varieties. If you are using Meyer lemons, reduce the cooking time by 10 minutes.
Focaccia al limone
1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
200ml (¾ cup) olive oil
7g sachet (¼ oz) dry yeast
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
500g bread flour (1lb) (‘OO’) or strong plain flour, sifted
8 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
Toss the lemons in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside.
Place the yeast, sugar and half the salt in a bowl. Add 250ml (1 cup) of warm water and set aside for 5 minutes or until foaming. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. (You can do the mixing by hand if you prefer). Reserving 1 tablespoon of the oil, add the remaining oil and the flour, mixing on low speed until a very soft, sticky dough forms. Knead on medium-high speed for 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with greased plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.
Shape the dough into a 22cm x 33cm (9″ x 13″) rectangle and place on a lightly oiled oven tray. Using your fingers, press the dough all over to form small dimples. Brush dough with reserved 1 tablespoon olive oil, then top with lemon slices, the rosemary and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cover with greased plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 45 minutes or until dough doubles in size.
Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºC/Gas Mark 6). Bake focaccia for 30 minutes when tapped with your fingers. Serve hot or cold.