Italian. The language of passion. What better tongue to describe the delicate balance of crisp crust, fluffy dough, sweet caramalised onions, crunchy potatoes and pancetta.
This delicate mingling of flavours I present for you today is called Schiacciata.
It means squashed. Bellisimo.
But really, who gives a shit. Look at it! It’s amazing. Like a lot of excellent Italian food, this one started in the peasants hut, perhaps a reason for it’s slightly rough hewn name.
I have no shame in saying that I’ve been adapting a lot of recipes from the Bourke St goodies I received over Xmas. This one however was pretty much blow for blow. Most of the olive doughs that Bourke St produce use an initial ferment and the process for this is outlined below – using a mixer I might add. Double the times for kneading etc if by hand.
Strong White Flour 100g
Sea Salt 2.5g
Extra Virgin Oil 1tsp
Dried Yeast 1g
100g strong white bread flour
2.5g sea salt
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp milk
1g dried yeast
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix on a low speed to combine – about 3-4 minutes.Transfer to an oiled container and rest overnight in the fridge.
For The Dough
600g strong white bread flour
7g dried yeast
400ml warm water
20ml extra virgin olive oil
20ml full fat milk
15g sea salt
180g ferment (as above)
Put the flour and yeast in a large bowl then add the warm water. Mix until well combined then add the oil, milk and salt. Mix for another 5 mins then rest. Add ferment and mix until silky.
Grab a large and well oiled bowl, cover with cling or towel and leave for another 90 minutes. Once done you’ll need to knock back thrice in another 90 minute period. Pull the dough out, pull into a rectangle and do your letter folding – then place back in container.
And the final piece:
1kg onions, sliced
2 medium sized potatoes
400g olive oil dough
10 x slices of pancetta
Slice the onions thinly and sweat out with a little olive oil in a heavy base pan for at least an hour. And leave them alone! You want them to catch a bit, so stir and a little water if over browned every 10 minutes or so. Don’t be so impatient.
Not many people have a mandolin laying around so use a good sharp knife and carefully slice the potatoes 2mm thick. Simmer for 5 and then cool under water. Set aside in a bowl of water.
Caramelize your onions by sweating very slowly in a little olive oil over a low heat, about one hour. Set aside to cool.
Divide dough into two equal sized pieces. Roll into rectangular loaves about 5mm thick – it’s squashed remember. Grease a lined baking sheet and leave to prove for another 10 minutes.
With the oven pre-heated to 220C, spread a thin layer of caramelised onions, potatoes, pancetta and rosemary over both. Add rosemary and salt sparingly and drizzle with olive oil. Prove for another 5 minutes.
Place into the oven for 5 minutes at 220 then reduce to 200 and bake for 20-25 until the pancetta is crisp and the dough has browned.
Leave for 10 minutes and demolish immediately. I recommend a Sangiovese.