One of my favourite restaurants in the city closed its doors for good a year and the half ago.
It was a charming unpretentious trattoria nestled among other fine restaurants and bars on Yaletownâ€™s Hamilton Street.
The menu was mainly from the Emilia – Romagna region of Italy and I went mostly for the gnocchi and tiramisu
I guess I went a little for the service too; the space was welcoming, and the staff personal and attentive.
The owner remembered my name the second time I dined there, and thatâ€™s how I knew Iâ€™d keep going back.
Dinner usually started with a moist and dense fresh-out-of-the-oven-warm bread, I could never get enough of that delicious bread.
I asked the owner once for the recipe (I do this quite a bit at restaurants) he laughed and said heâ€™d have something even spectacular for next time and thatâ€™s the recipe heâ€™d want me to have.
He kept his word, the next time I was at the restaurant I had the specially made olive and rosemary focaccia â€“ flavourful, moist, herbaceous and oh so scrumptious! Itâ€™s all I wanted to eat for the rest of my life.
I never did get that recipe, and incidentally stopped eating out as much when I decided to take my vegetarianism a step further by going dairy-free
I didnâ€™t visit that restaurant for almost two years and then one day when I really wanted to go I learnt that the restaurant had closed months before.
I canâ€™t think of focaccia and not think about that wonderful little restaurant that is no more, and when I found this particular olive and rosemary focaccia, I couldnâ€™t wait to get to the kitchen to try it.
This bread turned out wonderful, honestly, I donâ€™t really remember the exact taste of the focaccia I had years ago, but I know this is pretty closeâ€¦
Olive & Rosemary Focaccia
Note: This recipe uses a bread machine, but you can use the instructions here to make dough by hand
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 3 tablespoons rosemary (dried or fresh, chopped), divided
- 1 tablespoon sugar (I use turbinado)
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons of dry active yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups brine-cured black olives, pitted
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon large flaked sea salt or kosher salt
- Place the water, half of the olive oil, half of the rosemary, sugar, flour, yeast and salt into the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer
- Choose the Dough cycle, and Start
- When the cycle ends, let the dough rest covered in the bread machine pan for up to an hour or until it doubles in size
- Meanwhile, Grease a 9 x 9 inches square baking sheet and set aside
- Punch dough down and transfer to the pan, press and stretch to fill the square pan
- Let the dough rest for 10 minutes and drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over dough
- Press and arrange the olives on the dough evenly and sprinkle the rest of the rosemary and salt over it
- Let the dough rise uncovered in a warm area for about 25 minutes, until puffy
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and crusty
- Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack
- Serve warm or at room temperature