My focaccia is always on the heavy side.
Drizzled with lots of olive oil before, during and after baking, it’s an indulgent, artisan spin on a childhood favorite: greasy, doughy deep dish pizza from Pizza Hut.
Lorraine Pascale takes a different approach. The best-selling U.K. author (and host of numerous BBC television shows) uses just a tablespoon of olive oil in this recipe, which appears in her latest cookbook, “A Lighter Way to Bake” (Ecco, $29.99), a compilation of baked goods that are inconspicuously lighter in fat, sugar and calories than you might expect. (Her focaccia has more protein and half the fat of traditional recipes.)
Pascale says that instead of baking the bread as an appetizer for dipping in oil and balsamic vinegar, she added anchovies, olives and sauteed onions to punch up the flavor without adding as many calories. The result is a dinner-worthy bread that won’t leave you hungry for a bowl of pasta.
Anchovy, Olive, Onion and Rosemary Focaccia
2 cups plus 2 table spoons white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
3/4 cup whole wheat bread flour
1/4 ounce package of active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup warm water (from the tap)
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 ounces pitted black olives, halved
2 stalks of fresh rosemary, broken into smaller sprigs
1 ounce anchovies, drained
Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment and set aside.
Combine the flours, yeast and salt together in a large bowl (or food mixer). Make a well in the center and add the oil and warm water. Mix everything together well with a wooden spoon (if mixing by hand) or in a mixer set with the dough hook, to give a smooth, soft dough ball. If using a machine, continue to knead for 5 minutes. Otherwise, put the ball onto a clean work surface sprinkled with a little flour and knead for about 10 minutes.
To test if the dough is kneaded enough, form the dough into a ball with a nice taut top, and then put a little flour on your finger. Prod the dough to make a small dent. If the dough has been kneaded enough, the dent will spring back and disappear. If it requires more kneading, then the dent will remain.
Place the kneaded dough on the baking sheet and roll it into a 10-inch circle. Spray the top with some oil and cover with plastic wrap, loose enough to allow the dough space to rise, but all enclosed so it is airtight. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until it has almost doubled in volume. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Meanwhile, spritz a little oil into a large frying pan set over low to medium heat. Add the onion and gently saute for 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until soft and just beginning to turn golden. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Once the dough has had its rising time, test to see if it has risen enough. Put some flour on your finger and prod the side of the dough to make a small indent. The dough should spring back halfway. Once the dough is ready, prod your fingers all over it to make those dents traditional to focaccia. Then stick an olive half and rosemary sprig in each hole. Spread the onions evenly all over, scatter with the remaining olives and lay the anchovies on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the dough is firm and sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
Once cooked, remove the focaccia from the oven. Leave until cool enough to handle before cutting into wedges or bite-sized squares. This can be served warm or cold.
– From “A Lighter Way to Bake,” by Lorraine Pascale (Ecco, $29.99).