My American son-in-law is an expert, avid, and very good baker of bread, pizza, and focaccia. So there is a family feast whenever he prepares one of them!
I gave him as a present a piece of Lardo di Colonnata I bought online from Salumeria Italiana to allow him to experiment with this unique recipe for gourmet focaccia, not well known in the USA, delicious homemade focaccia, flavored with fresh rosemary needles and covered with thin slices of lardo di Colonnata IGP.
Focaccia with Lardo di Colonnata is simple focaccia but made particularly appetizing thanks to the use of a single main ingredient, Lardo di Colonnata which, is cut into thin slices and added to the hot focaccia, literally melts in the mouth giving emotions to the palate.
After he made the focaccia al lardo di Colonnata for the first time, my son-in-law pointed out that he would have preferred to have available a slicing machine instead of slicing the lardo with a knife. He is right, the lardo will melt better on the focaccia if it is sliced very thin. He is becoming an Italian Cuoco!
Lardo di Colonnata
One of the most prized parts of the pig is pork fatback cut into rectangular slabs, rubbed with sea salt, and layered with black pepper, garlic, herbs, and spices. Aged from 6 months to a year in marble troughs rendering it a sweet, unctuous silky treasure. Typically served in paper-thin slices on hot grilled bread.
Lardo di Colonnata is produced in marble basins in which are placed, in alternate layers, the strips of pork lard and the salt with the aromas: pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom, sage, and rosemary. The basins rubbed with garlic have special temperatures and humidity, so the finished product has unique characteristics. The full basin is covered, checked periodically, and then reopened about 6-10 months later when the seasoning is complete.
Lardo di Colonnata has a moist appearance, is white and slightly pinkish in color, and has a smooth and homogeneous consistency. It has a delicate and fresh flavor, almost sweet, finely savory if it comes from the buttocks area, enriched by the aromatic herbs and spices used in its processing and its fragrant aroma.
Its ideal use is natural, cut in thin slices. In the past, it was considered as a simple condiment or the “poor man’s” companion for quarry workers, given its high nutritional value. However, it can be tasted like a dish by itself or in other combinations, for example, with shellfishes.
This most famous lardo is from the Tuscan hamlet of Colonnata, where lardo has been made since Roman times. Colonnata is a frazione of the larger city of Carrara, which is famous for its marble; Colonnata is itself a site where Carrara marble is quarried and, traditionally, lardo is cured for months in basins made of this marble. Lardo di Colonnata is now included in the Ark of Taste catalog of heritage foods and enjoying IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) status since 2004. It is composed of over 90% lipids.
INGREDIENTS FOR 6-8 PEOPLE
- For the dough:
- 300 g 00 flour, 300 g durum wheat semolina
- 1 cube of brewer’s yeast
- 3 dl of water
- 60 g of oil
- a pinch of sugar
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 10 g salt.
- For the dressing:
- 10 slices of Colonnata lard
- extra virgin olive oil
- chili powder.
How to make Focaccia al Lardo di Colonnata
Chop the rosemary as finely as possible.
Mix the two flours in a bowl.
Pour them on the pastry board and form the classic fountain.
Make a small hole outside the fountain and put the salt in it (the so-called “salt house”) to not contact the yeast.
Pour the yeast diluted with a little warm water and the rosemary into the center of the fountain.
Pour the water little by little in small quantities, mixing everything with your hands until you obtain a soft and elastic dough.
Work it for about 10-15 minutes, beating it several times on the work surface.
Place the dough in a floured napkin and let it rest in a warm place, away from drafts, until it has doubled its volume.
It is possible to speed up the leavening time by placing the dough inside an oven heated at 100°C (212°F) but turned off or covering the dough with a woolen cloth.
When the dough is ready, roll it out to a maximum thickness of 1 cm on a baking sheet lightly greased with oil or on a sheet of baking paper greased with oil.
Crush the dough with your fingertips and drizzle with a bit of oil.
Leave the focaccia to rest for another 30 minutes.
Then bake at 200-220°C for about 30 minutes.
Remove the focaccia from the oven when it is perfectly golden.
If necessary, extend the cooking time.
When cooked, cover the hot focaccia with slices of Colonnata lard and, if desired, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and chili powder.
Portions of text from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia