Just while you idea you knew the whole lot there is to know approximately the cutting-edge craze for focaccia and all its pizzalike editions, along comes focaccia col Formaggio di Recco (focaccia di Recco for short): a bubbly ooze of tart and fruity stracchino cheese barely contained by means of supersize rounds of paper-thin dough.
To make focaccia di Recco, you’re taking a easy ball of unleavened dough larded with olive oil, divide it in two, then roll and stretch the doughballs until you can study a newspaper through them (has each person ever surely examined the translucency of a sheet of dough with the aid of reading a newspaper through it? ). Then you line a pan with one of the dough rounds, top it with scoops of cheese, cover and seal it with the second spherical of dough like an apple pie, drizzle with greater olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake for about 10 mins.
The mere mention of focaccia di Recco and its holy grail, the 134-12 months-old eating place Manuelina in the Ligurian city of Recco, can motive jaded gastronomes to lose their minds. Italian-meals guru and opera pupil Fred Plotkin has praised it as “indescribably high-quality” and “probably the maximum addictive meals on the planet.” Saveur founder Colman Andrews has also described it as “…genuinely addictive — the type of issue human beings make special journeys to devour.” Not to be outdone, Vogue’s Jeffrey Steingarten wrote 2,500 words on the issue detailing his hunt for the recipe even as extolling the dish as a kind of move between a bag of potato chips and a grilled cheese sandwich.
What’s humorous approximately focaccia di Recco is that, regardless of the name, it appears approximately as just like regular focaccia as Christian Bale minus a fat in shape and fifteen hours inside the make-up artist’s chair looks as if Dick Cheney. In fact, the thing a focaccia di Recco more closely resembles is a giant quesadilla or perhaps a surprisingly thin slab of the Turkish breakfast pastry, so böreği.
Maybe the nomenclature is a part of the motive why focaccia di Recco has by no means without a doubt taken off in New York, and also why one of the excellent variations of the dish goes below the alias of “crammed garlic bread” at Don Angie in the West Village, wherein it’s sprinkled with sesame seeds and walks the line between a conventional focaccia di Recco and a scallion pancake. (Even in Italy, focaccia di Recco isn’t always a household name outside of Liguria.)
The right information is that there’s a mini-flurry of interest at the neighborhood focaccia di Recco front. At Kesté Fulton in Fidi, Neapolitan-pizza master Roberto Caporuscio just introduced an incredible model to his menu. It comes with Wisconsin crescenza cheese (stracchino with the aid of another call) and in a number sizes together with a supercolossal 25-inch model by unique order.
Even extra exciting is the information that restaurateur Shelly Fireman, whose enthusiasm for thin focaccia filled with stracchino cheese is sort of Plotkinian, is returned inside the focaccia di Recco commercial enterprise. A dozen or so years in the past, Fireman traveled to Manuelina and was so smitten through the signature dish that he employed the restaurant’s number one FDR man instant and set up this focacciaiolo and his Maremma sheepdog in an apartment in Queens. The plan turned into for him to oversee focaccia di Recco manufacturing at Fireman’s restaurant Bond forty-five inside the theater district. Alas, the cook and his canine grew homesick for the rocky coasts and crystal waters of Liguria and headed again to Recco after handiest three weeks of metropolis existence. Fireman in no way lost his flavor for focaccia col Formaggio di Recco, though. And while he reopened his Redeye Grill on Seventh Avenue in advance this month, he positioned the dish on the menu of its new casual front room place called the 888 Café & Bar.
This focaccia di Recco, baked in conventional copper pans, is as it should be: rich and salty, with an attractive variety of textures, from crackly crisp to paratha like chewy, and sliced checkerboard-fashion like a Chicago skinny-crust pizza. To what degree became it stimulated via Manuelina? “It was now not inspired via Manuelina,” says Fireman. “It changed into copied exactly.”
All this communicate approximately focaccia stuffed with creamy Northern Italian cheeses has got us thinking about some other double-crusted pizza variation, and we’d be remiss no longer to offer it a shout-out. We’re speakme about Ciro Verdi’s incredible focaccia robiola. A focaccia robiola isn’t a focaccia di Recco, however, there are similarities. A focaccia robiola is constructed not from two separate sheets of dough however from a skinny flatbread split in like an English muffin. The inner gets schmeared with robiola cheese, then it’s lidded, drizzled with truffle oil, and cooked to a golden-brown fare-thee-properly in the oven. The end result is like an airy shape of a toasted bagel with cream cheese (an authentic inspiration consistent with the Astoria, Queens-born Verdi), and it’s constantly baffled us that you can’t discover focaccia robiola on every different street nook inside the metropolis where it became invented but best at a smattering of spots along with Verdi’s Clinton Hill restaurant, Da Ciro, and his brother’s area Forno Pizzeria e Trattoria in Maspeth.