Wikipedia says, “In Ancient Rome, panis focacius was a flat bread baked on the hearth. The word is derived from the Latin focus meaning “hearth’, a place for baking. The basic recipe is thought by some to have originated with the Etruscans or ancient Greeks, but today it is widely associated with Ligurian cuisine. ” Well, I would like to thank the Etruscans or ancient Greeks or Ligurians, or whichever of the ancients introduced this amazing bread to the world. Just make and taste this Olive Rosemary Focaccia Bread, and you will see what I mean!
There is really nothing to beat the aroma of freshly baked homemade bread, and a focaccia is so easy to bake.
In his introduction to The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook (from which this recipe is adapted), Chef Jack Bishop says,’Pasta and pizza may be Italy’s most eye-catching exports, but it is the country’s varied and sensible use of vegetables that provides the best inspiration for American cooks.’
I am an Indian cook however it is the use of herbs and vegetables in multivarious forms in Italian cookery, which makes me go back to these recipes again and again.
I have enjoyed making this olive rosemary focaccia, and of course eating it too, with pasta or with soup. When I first made this focaccia, I was lucky to be able to pick fresh rosemary from my daughters herb garden, for the topping. Now that I have a pot of rosemary growing in my balcony, this bread is becoming a frequent item in my kitchen.
The aroma of the rosemary wafting through the kitchen is sufficient reward for all efforts in making the olive rosemary focaccia! Add to this the fact that it is quite easy to make if you follow the measurements properly, and you get brownie points from the family for giving them this treat.
For the best focaccia, use a good quality olive oil and some coarse salt, to bring out the flavours of the freshly baked bread.
Variation from Olive Rosemary Focaccia:
Other fresh herbs may be substituted for the rosemary – sage makes for a flavourful focaccia. Sun dried tomatoes and basil (fresh or dried) may be substituted for the olives and rosemary.
Link to my recipe on this blog for Home made Basil Oil: Fragrant Home made Basil Oil
Till recently, good quality yeast was not easily available in India. Now there are some premium qualities available in Stores that supply ingredients and equipment for Baking, such as Arife, in various cities, and online on Amazon.