There is no mistaking it, I LOVE Focaccia! Especially the one I grew up on. It’s called Focaccia Barese. It’s made with tomatoes, oregano and sea salt. Whenever I see these simple ingredients it always brings me back to my mother’s kitchen where large trays of this focaccia could often be found. So you can only imagine how nostalgic I felt when my friends at Cento foods recently sent me their new line of Organic Cherry Tomatoes and Sicilian Sea Salt. It not only brought back such wonderful memories of my favorite childhood dish, but it definitely inspired me to get my own focaccia on.
A little nostalgia….
No matter what the occasion, my mother always made focaccia. It was something I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into. More often than not it was served as our bread during special occasions and holidays. It was a little bit sweet and a touch tart, with just the right amount of saltiness. One of things that I love about the new Organic Cherry tomatoes from Cento is that they have that same sweet, tart flavor combination that is so reminiscent of this family favorite from my childhood. I also feel safe using these tomatoes because they are NON GMO, USDA Organic and come in BPA FREE lined can.
In addition to the distinct flavor of the cherry tomatoes, no Barese style focaccia would be complete without salt. Sea Salt to be exact! In this recipe I used the new Sicilian Sea Salt that Cento sent me. It’s an all natural, unrefined salt that is harvested from the evaporation process of seawater (found in good old Sicily). It comes in both fine and coarse granules and that just sealed the deal for me.
Changing up that recipe a bit….
Although nothing beats the focaccia recipe I grew up on, I decided to deviate a little and add some Italian green olives to mine. I also stepped away from my mother’s traditional recipe by baking this focaccia in a cast iron skillet. The cast iron skillet gives it a more rustic, old fashioned look but also helps lighten up the dish a bit. As the OG of Non stick cooking, baking in the cast iron skillet requires far less oil than the way I was brought up on. If you don’t own a cast iron skillet, I highly recommend investing in one. You can Click Here to find the one I use in my kitchen.
PRO TIP: This focaccia can be made in a 12″ deep dish baking pan
Let’s get our focaccia on …..
You are not even going to believe how simple this delicious focaccia is. To start, add a few drops of olive oil to the cast iron skillet, place the dough inside, cover and just forget about it for a while. When the dough has really doubled up, spread it out evenly inside the skillet. Next with tips of your fingers, press down and create little indentations in the dough. Then place sliced cherry tomatoes and olives all around. Do not cover every inch of the focaccia. Before placing it into a preheated oven, push the cherry tomatoes and olives down deep into the dough. This helps prevent the little tomatoes from popping up while baking.
PRO TIP: When you are ready to take on this recipe, make sure you allow yourself enough time to allow the dough to at least double in size first. This will take at least an hour. Just to give you an idea of how high my mother’s focaccia was, she would let her dough to rise over night!
Finally before popping into a preheated oven, sprinkle dough over with dried oregano, some Sicilian sea salt, along with a good drizzle of olive oil. Bake for about 30 minutes. When the focaccia is a little more than golden brown, it’s done. Carefully remove the hot cast iron skillet from the oven, sprinkle with a little more sea salt and then let it cool.
Give this simple cast iron skillet focaccia barese recipe a try. My family loves it and now look forward to when I make it. We eat this alone or as a mealtime bread during weeknight and weekend meals. Hopefully you’ll give this a try it and it will become a part of your family tradition too. Until we cook again …
Today’s post is being brought to you courtesy of my friends at Cento Fine Foods. Please help me bring you more delicious recipes by supporting the brands that help me bring you good food.