I had stocked our refrigerator with a variety of different salami and cheese when my family was visiting in July, and when they left I realized I still had quite a lot of leftovers on hand. I had sliced the salami and cheese before the family arrived so it would be easy from them to grab some for a snack, or I could easily assemble a plate for everyone to enjoy with a glass of wine. Once sliced though, salami only last so long before it dries out which goes for the cheese as well. I considered using these meats and cheeses in a pasta dish of some type, but then focaccia came to mind. I had experimented with topping focaccia with chopped cheese and salami about a month or so ago and found it was great cut into small pieces and served with red wine. Although everyone raved about that first focaccia, I felt it needed more.
I decided to chop the salami slices and hard cheese in my food processor into small pieces and then fold the mixture into my focaccia dough before I kneaded it. This worked out perfectly, creating a soft textured focaccia with lots of flavor. You could cut this focaccia into four inch squares, cut them in half crosswise and fill with peppery arugula and ripe tomato slices for lunch, cut into slices to serve with soups or stews, or simply enjoy on its own cut into small squares with a glass of robust red wine. I used a selection of leftover Umbrian salami, but you could use any cured meats, even prosciutto, if you liked. Hard cheese such as parmesan or pecorino Romano work best in this recipe.
Deborah Mele 2015
- 5 Cups All-purpose Unbleached Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Instant Active Dry Yeast
- 2 – 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Plus 2 Additional Tablespoons To Oil Bowl)
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 2 Cups Warm Water
- 1 1/2 Cups Salami Cut Into Small Pieces (See Notes Above)
- 1 1/2 Cups Cheese Cut Into Small Pieces (See Notes Above)
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- Coarse Sea Salt
- Cracked Black Pepper
- Measure and assemble your flour, oil, salt, yeast, oregano, water, salami and cheese.
- Add everything but the water into a large bowl and stir.
- Add half the water and stir.
- Continue to add water until the dough begins to come together into a shaggy ball.
- Dump the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead with the heels of your hand.
- Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliant.
- Add a little oil (2 tablespoons) to the bottom of a large bowl and place your ball of dough inside.
- Roll the ball of dough around in the oil ensuring the sides of the bowl and ball of dough are both lightly oiled.
- Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise. (I cover mine with a kitchen towel on top of the plastic wrap and sit it on a large sunny windowsill.)
- Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour or an hour and a half depending on ambient temperature.
- Lightly oil a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet with sides.
- Dump your risen dough into the pan punching it down to deflate it.
- Use your fingers to push and press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for another 20 minutes or until the dough dimples when pushed with your fingertip.
- Use the tips of your fingers to dimple the entire top of the focaccia.
- Drizzle olive oil over the top turning the pan carefully to allow the oil to roll into the indentations.
- Sprinkle coarse sea salt and black pepper over the top of your focaccia.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown, then cool to room temperature before slicing (if you can!).