Ciao a Tutti!
I'd like to welcome you to a very special week here at Cooking with Nonna. My very own Nonna Romana returns to teach us one of the most coveted recipes in all of Italian cooking: Foccacia Barese! The delicate preparation of this often imitated and almost never duplicated (until now, that is!) sentinel of the dinner table will finally be revealed so that this wonderful staple can grace everyone's table.
Foccacia comes in many shapes, sizes and tastes. As with anything involved with Italian culture, the styles and flavors not only vary region to region, but town to town. Foccacia Barese gets its individual charm from the traditional topping: tomatoes. Often in the North, for example, one finds that the very sight of anything other than herbs atop their crispy bread vulgar and offensive, while others recoil at the notion of the absence of some sort of vegetable. Common items you will find in wide use are onions, olives and peppers, while others use various types of cheeses to accompany the herbs. As always, we encourage our viewers to experiment, and if you find that magical combination of ingredients to adorn your foccacia, stick with it!
The streets of Foccacia-ville have been littered with the unsuccessful attempts at taming the wild beast. Too dry, too salty, too oily are the signposts that mark the resting places of those that have come before. Dear friends, it's time to depart from the past once and for all. With these simple instructions, some moxie, and the actual ingredients, you can sleep soundly knowing that you've reached one of the most coveted plateaus in the world of Italian cuisine. Thanks again to Nonna Romana and her recipe, which has now spanned two centuries (and will traverse many more, I'm sure!)