Forget the banana bread! Why aren’t we all making focaccia in quarantine?
Seriously, my recipe involves less work, bakes in under 30 minutes and the aroma draws even my teens out from the depths of their rooms into the kitchen! All you need is pizza dough and a baking pan to get started.
You can top your focaccia with just about anything. The combinations are limitless. I happen to love fennel, especially when it’s roasted or baked. So, I thought it would be fun to use it in this recipe. The fragrant, thinly sliced fennel, crisps up nicely in the oven and goes so well with the tomatoes, herbs and richness of the olive oil that I drizzle over the top straight out of the oven.
The dough is rolled out to about 1 inch thickness and is free formed onto a regular baking sheet. The less you roll it out, the thicker the final product will be. By the way, I buy my dough from the supermarket (which happens to purchase it from a really amazing pizzeria in the Bronx). If you have a favorite pizzeria though, most will sell you their dough.
Tip- Let your dough sit out at room temperature before rolling it out. This will yield a more airy and less chewy consistency.
To give the focaccia it’s characteristic appearance, just press your finger tips into the top of the dough leaving little indentations.
Don’t be afraid to pack on the fennel because it shrinks as it bakes and crisps in the oven. You can slice it thicker if you’d like the fennel to retain more of it’s substance.
Here are some variations on this recipe that I also think would be delicious:
- adding slices of garlic or shallots
- topping with olives and capers
- tomato sauce if your in a pizza type mood
- adding fresh basil or chopped rosemary
- for some heat, red pepper flakes
I like to top my slices with parmesan and dip them into some extra virgin olive oil in a dish.
Anyway you slice it (wink, wink), it’s sure to be a hit!
- 1 pound pizza dough *left out at room temperature covered in a bowl for 1-2 hours.
- 1 medium sized fennel bulb thinly sliced (hard core and stalks removed) (set aside fronds for later)
- 8-10 grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
- ½ tsp dry italian seasonings (or a mix of dry oregano and basil)
- extra virgin olive oil
- all purpose flour (for dusting board)
- grated parmesan (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- On a cutting board dusted with flour, roll out the dough into a rectangular shape about ½-1 inch thickness (it doesn't have to be perfect).
- Place the dough onto an oiled baking sheet or lined with parchment paper.
- Brush the top of the dough with olive oil.
- Press the tomatoes into the dough.
- Next scatter the sliced fennel on top and gently press into the dough where possible.
- Sprinkle herbs over top.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
- Top with pieces of the fennel fronds, additional olive oil, parmesan cheese or more herbs if desired.