Italian Focaccia, a patchwork & a “pizzeria”
One of the things that I love most about Unites States is that they are like one of those lovely patchwork blankets that you can find in small shops in Massachusetts: like they are made by different tissues and different colors and fantasy, US are made by different ethnic groups and various cultures. This incredible mixture generates something beautiful, as each community had given its best to become part of the country.
I’m proud to say that certainly Italians have done their part. It always touches my heart think at how my fellow Italians left a country that was poor and, after a long journey by sea, they reached their “promised Land”. My husband and I are “emigrants” because we left Italy for Switzerland, but we are graduated, we speak English and we left not because we were poor but simply because we are ambitious. That is a completely different picture. At the end of 1800 and even later, leaving Italy was like say an eternal goodbye. There weren’t Skype, low-cost flights and telephones in every home to keep in touch with families. People didn’t know the language and for the first years probably they tought that they had left poverty to get only misery. But at the end they did it! They were able to find good jobs and to start businesses. I suppose you will agree with me if I say that one of the most important contributions (even not the only) that Italians gave to the US was… PIZZA!!
The first “pizzeria” in the US was opened in New York City in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi and it’s still there. Go and try it in Spring Street – Little Italy, you won’t be disappointed. Of course I went there not only out of curiosity but because, believe it or not, Lombardi is also my husband’s last name! So we have a nice photo in front of their Gioconda and the words “Smile, you’re at Lombardi’s”.
I’m sure lots of you have a similar story to tell, about ancestors that left Mexico, Ireland, Germany and many other places believing in the dream of a better life. Please feel free to join my kitchen and share your story eating a slice of this soft and “truly Italian” focaccia. Enjoy!
For the dough:
- 400 g of flour
- 10 g of sugar
- 10 g of yeast
- 200 ml of warm water
- 40 ml of olive oil
- 10 g of salt
For the brine:
- 40 ml olive
- 40 ml of water
-10 g of salt
Put the flour on a wooden surface, add in the center the yeast, 10 g of sugar and add gradually 200 ml of warm water mixing till the yeast is completely melted. Add olive oil and salt. Mix for almost 10 minutes then cover the dough with a damp cloth. Let rest for almost 4 hours. Roll out the dough in a pan greased with olive oil and let rest for another hour. Prepare the brine mixing very well 400 ml of olive oil, 40 ml of water and 10 g of salt, then brush it over the dough. Use your fingers like a pianist to make small grooves, then sprinkle with a pinch of coarse salt. Put in preheated oven at 210°C (410°F). Buon appetito!