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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Focaccia Follies

Yesterday was one of those beautiful Alaska summer days that we think of as hot--which is a relative term, in this case a temperature in the low 70s.  I celebrated the great weather by staying inside most of the afternoon cooking, although with the windows wide open. 

One of the regions I visted in Italy was Liguria, home of pesto and focaccia.  It isn't a huge tourist destination, although its largest city, Genoa, is still a major port.  I am sad to say that I ate very little focaccia there, although during lunch in Imperia, a town that an Italian man told me was where the Italians went on vacation, my husband and I shared a fat slice of focaccia with olives and sea salt.

Now, I am not a bread baker, and anything requiring rising and activating yeast makes me nervous.  The focaccia genovese from Italian Cooking at Home has not one but two periods of rising, and each time I was nervous that it wouldn't actually work.  Aside from it needing less olive oil for the topping and over-dimpling the dough, it turned out beautifully:

I finally put the tuna conserva to good use by making the preparation with dandelion greens and fava bean puree from A16.  I missed the part where the fava beans were supposed to soak overnight, but I got them in cold water in the morning and (aside from snagging the tip of a fingernail) I was able to take the skins off in the later afternoon.  The fava bean puree is like an Italian hummus and we couldn't stop eating it on the focaccia.  The final dish looks like this:

We ate outside with a bottle of Piedmontese white wine Arneis, a varietal you don't see much in the U.S. It has a full body with terrific minerality, perfect for a light summer dinner.

Good thing we enjoyed last night, because today has been mostly rainy.  Next up, a recipe incorporating the rest of the tuna conserva.

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