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Focaccia with Tomatoes

Visiting Italy is a foodie’s dream – and one treat you might encounter on an Italian vacation is a type of flatbread called focaccia.  

Focaccia has been made for centuries in Liguria, the coastal region of northwest Italy. The classic version is simply topped with olive oil, salt and sometimes herbs. Tomatoes are a more recent addition. As tomatoes were introduced to Italian cuisine in the 16th century, they were initially met with suspicion as the bright red fruits were thought to be poisonous. Over time, however, they became a beloved ingredient for much of Italian cooking, especially in Liguria where the warm climate was ideal for growing tomatoes.

It was after World War II that many Ligurian bakers began experimenting with adding tomatoes on top of their beloved focaccia breads. This allowed them to showcase the region's delicious fresh tomatoes while giving the flatbread a colorful, flavorful twist.

The tomato-topped focaccia quickly caught on, especially in home kitchens and casual eateries along the Italian Riviera and Lake regions. Today, it is one of the most popular versions of this iconic bread. 

Here’s a simple recipe to try at home:  

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups (295ml) warm water
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 sliced ripe tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Flaky sea salt


Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt and yeast. Create a well and pour in the warm water and 1/4 cup olive oil.
  2. Mix into a shaggy dough, then knead for 5-7 minutes until smooth. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
  3. Punch down the dough. On an oiled baking sheet, use fingers to press and stretch the dough into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle.
  4. Dimple the dough all over with your fingertips. Cover and rest 20 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
  6. Top the dough with the diced tomatoes, spreading them evenly. Sprinkle with oregano.
  7. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Let cool slightly, then cut or tear into pieces and serve warm.


The bright tomatoes add fresh flavor and vibrant color to this classic Ligurian flatbread. It's an iconic taste of the Italian Riviera!
 

Interested in an Italian foodie experience? Visit Italy with a CIE Tours private driver.  

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