COOKING WITH COR: The Potato & Rosemary FoCORccia
This focaccia looks and tastes fantastic, it is sure to impress. Be warned though, while it is easy, it does take a while, you’re going to want to start in the morning to be ready for an evening meal. It is of course best eaten fresh and warm, straight out of the oven, but if you somehow have any left, it’s still good for a couple of days especially warmed up quickly in the oven.
1 large baking potato (360g)
350g strong bread flour (or 00 or if you are really trying, half of each)
1 tsp fast-action yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
Flaky sea salt
4 small potatoes, cut as thin as you can get them
2 tbsp thyme (fresh is best..)
2 tbsp rosemary (fresh is best, 2 or 3 nice sprigs)
2 cloves of garlic.
a sprinkling of nigella seeds (optional)
Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Bake the large potato for an hour, until cooked through, then cut in half, scoop the fluffy centre into your mixing bowl, leave to cool and eat the skin (check out bonus recipe).
Add the flour, yeast, sugar, three tablespoons of oil, 130ml of warm (not hot) water and a teaspoon of salt to the bowl. Mix until it all comes together, then knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, it will still be quite wet and sticky. Transfer to a fresh oiled bowl with space to rise, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside somewhere warm for an hour or until it has doubled in size and is soft and silky.
Line an oven tray with baking paper and brush with more oil. Tip the dough into the centre of the tray and stretch out with your hands so it covers the base of the tray. Cover with baking paper and set aside for half an hour or so, to rise.
Slice the little potatoes and garlic as thinly as you can, mix with the herbs, and 2 table spoons of oil, then spread this mixture evenly over the dough, pressing it down lightly. Set aside for another 30 minutes, to rise.
Heat the oven to 210C/410F/gas mark 6½. Sprinkle the bread with salt and the nigella seeds, then bake for 20 minutes, until golden-brown all over (including on the base). Lift the focaccia off the tray on its paper, discard the paper and leave to cool on a wire rack. It will be perfect and warm after about 15 minutes, but will still be fantastic at room temperature.
Drizzle the potato skins with some olive oil, add some salt, pepper and maybe cayenne, paprika, fresh chilli or flakes. Put them in a very hot oven (220C is good) until they start to look crispy, this won’t take long, so keep an eye on them. You could put some grated cheese on top for another minute or two if you are into that. Once out of the oven, with or without cheese, add some kind of fresh topping, sour cream, avocado maybe, top with some fresh herbs, parsley or better yet, dill. Yum!