I have been making these delectable little appetizers for our wine tastings since we first began inviting our farmhouse guests over for the tastings last year, although they have evolved a bit over time. I initially layered paper thin slices of lard (cured pork fat) between my cubes of freshly made focaccia but when guests asked what they were eating, many of the folks unused to such a delicacy seemed a little alarmed to find they were eating pork fat. I then switched to mortadella, a finely ground pork based salami studded with fat, peppercorns and pistachios. I simply cut the mortadella into strips the width of my focaccia cubes, lightly sear the strips, and then layer the mortadella into my focaccia bites, securing them with rosemary sprigs. Since I heat the mortadella before assembling, it releases it’s juices into the bread creating a delicious mouthful of meat and bread.
I like to make appetizers that are served with wine to be bite sized and easily picked up with your fingers which is exactly what these tidbits are. Since I serve two appetizers with each wine we taste, a total of three wines, that adds up to six appetizers, so I like to make some that are easy to assemble like this one. I personally prefer to add a dab of dijon mustard to each of my bites, although my husband prefers his plain stating mustard is not “Italian” so that’s an option you can include or not depending on your preference.
We have rosemary growing all over our property so I try and use it as much as I can in my cooking. I cut sprigs about three inches long, and then remove the leaves halfway down to allow the sprig to be used as sort of a toothpick to hold the assembled mini panini together. If you cannot obtain the rosemary, you could easily substitute those decorative long toothpicks you can buy in any party supply store. Of course you discard the rosemary sprigs when you enjoy the focaccia bite as they are used simply to secure the sandwich.
A Bite Sized Morssel Of Warm Mortadella On Fresh Focaccia
Deborah Mele 2011
Focaccia & Mortadella Bites
Mortadella, studded with lard and pistachios is used to full squares of focaccia in this recipe for easy finger food.
For The Focaccia: (Best Started Early In The Day)
- 1 Pkg. Active Dry Yeast (2 1/2 Teaspoons)
- 3/4 to 1 Cup Warm Water
- 4 Cups All-purpose, Unbleached Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Rosemary (Or Mixed Dried Italian Seasonings)
- Coarse Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
To Assemble: (Best Done Just Before Serving)
- Good Quality Mortadella
- Dijon Mustard (Optional ~ See Note Above)
- Fresh Rosemary Sprigs (Or Long Toothpicks)
- Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water, and let sit 10 minutes until bubbly.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, yeast mixture and remaining water, mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon and then your hands.
- Transfer to a floured work surface and knead by hand for a few minutes or until smooth and elastic.
- Place in a well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Punch down and place on an oiled baking sheet, forming into a rectangle.
- Dimple the top surface with your finger tips, and then drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with coarse salt, cracked pepper and rosemary(or Italian seasoning).
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, then bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown, turning the pan halfway through.
- Cool to room temperature and then cut into 1 1/2 inch squares.
- Cut the squares in half creating a top and bottom for each.
- If using the mustard, dab a little onto the bottom half of each focaccia square.
- Cut the mortadella into strips lengthwise the width of of focaccia cubes.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and lay as many strips as will fit into the skillet.
- Gently heat until bubbly and hot and then fold one piece of the mortadella into each square of focaccia, securing the top with either rosemary or a toothpick.
- Assemble the focaccia bites onto a platter and serve immediately.