May 29, 2019

Schiacciata with Delicious Toppings

SCHIACCIATA is an Italian flat bread sold in every bakery across Tuscany, but more specifically around the Florence area. In other parts of the peninsula, amongst many other names, it is also called focaccia. Schiacciata is simply made from flour, water, yeast and salt.  While still piping hot and fresh from the oven it is then drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with good quality course sea salt and cut into slices. Today we will make schiacciate with some delicious toppings. 

There are many different ways to prepare schiacciata.  There is the famous Schiacciata alla Fiorentina which actually is a delicious, sweet flat bread served around the period of Carnevale. The chosen lipid for this cake is pure lard. Once baked and cooled it is then dusted with a thick layer of powdered sugar. So GOOD!

Then there is Schiacciata all'uva which is also a Tuscan specialty. This sweet bread is rolled out, filled with grapes, dusted with sugar, and sprinkled with olive oil and fresh rosemary. Every bakery offers this delicious specialty only during grape harvest. So DELICIOUS!

Finally, there is just plain schiacciata. What a treat when you can go by the Forno (bakery) early in the morning or later in the afternoon when the inebriating aroma of this flat bread permeates the air. Our friends who own a bakery in Scarperia make the most incredible shiacciata, which they serve to the public as soon as the doors of the store open in the afternoon. Simply stretched, pressed with the fingertips, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, schiacciata will be sure to become a family favorite! 

After attending a trade show with my husband a few months ago, we came across an Italian company named Urbani Truffles which is now known across the globe.  Thanks to the suggestion of our Instagram friend Chef Lorenzo Boni we had already purchased some of Urbani's frozen porcini mushrooms. Lorenzo Boni is the executive Chef for Barilla Pasta USA and his suggestion for frozen porcini mushrooms was well accepted. How exciting when we actually met the Urbani company in person, and even more exciting was when they graciously offered to send us some of their product to try out. One of our schiacciate will be elevated to a higher level because of their truffle and porcini paste. 

Recipe:

Supplies:

  • wood-fired oven
  • wooden peel
  • infrared thermometer
  • pizza cutter

Ingredients:

  • Schiacciata dough
  • Flour and cornmeal for dusting both the work surface and the peel
  • About 20 small potatoes
  • Onions
  • frozen porcini mushrooms
  • white truffles and porcini paste
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh arugula
  • Red onion thinly sliced
  • Lemon thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste 
  • Cayenne pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the wood-fired oven until the stone reaches 500°-525°F - 260°-273°C
  2. Make sure to brush the oven floor with the brass-bristled cleaning brush to make sure it is completely clean.
  3. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow it to rest at room temperature.
  4. Take the frozen porcini mushrooms out of the freezer and allow them to thaw. Once thawed they can be sliced. Set them aside.  
  5. Place the white truffle and porcini paste in a bowl and set aside.
  6. Bring a pot of water to a boil and par-boil the small potatoes for about 6-7 minutes.  
  7. Slice each potato and drizzle with olive oil, crushed garlic, freshly chopped parsley, sprinkle with salt and toss all ingredients well.  
  8. Slice the red onion thinly.
  9. Place the dough on a well dusted peel and gently stretch it until you sense resistance. Allow the dough to relax before stretching it again. Do not degas.
  10. Scatter the par-boiled potatoes as well as the thinly sliced onions over the stretched dough.
  11. Chop the rosemary and scatter over the potatoes. Finish it off by dusting with cayenne pepper flakes and a drizzle of olive oil.
  12. With the help of the infrared thermometer check the temperature of the oven floor.
  13. Place the peel at the mouth of the oven and slide it to the very back of the oven. With a backward pull, bring the peel back, briskly leaving the schiacciata on the oven floor. Close the oven door and allow it to bake until the dough is golden brown. 
  14. Once again place the peel right under the schiacciata as you slide it under and pull the flat bread out of the oven. Fresh arugula placed across the top of this potato pizza is an absolute treat.
  15. Make sure there is a gentle fire going to keep the temperature even as you prepare the next schiacciata. Close the oven door so as to not drop the temperature.
  16. For the mushroom schiacciata follow the same stretching instructions as above. Sprinkle with olive oil and press the tips of your fingers all across the top of the dough, thus creating indentions.
  17. Place the "naked" schiacciata into the oven and allow it to bake for just a few minutes.
  18. Remove the schiacciata from the oven and spread the white truffle and porcini paste over it. Evenly place the sliced porciniover the top, and then add sprigs of fresh thyme.
  19. Sprinkle salt over the top as well as a nice drizzle of olive oil.
  20. Place the schiacciata inside the oven and bake until the edges are a nice golden brown.
  21. Last but not least the cherry tomato schiacciata. Follow the same directions as with the other two previously made. 
  22. Scatter the cherry tomatoes over the top of the stretched dough and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Place a few fresh basil leaves across the top reserving most for once the schiacciata is fully baked.
  23. Once again place it into the oven as done with the two previous schiacciate.
  24. Slice each into large sections and immediately serve. Enjoy!

Buon Appetito!

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