Saturday, 12 May 2012

Did You Say Pizza Honey?

Miscela di Focacce con Zucchine, Pomodoro, Pancetta, Feta, Miele & Erbe Miste
Focaccia-Mix with Zucchini, Cherry Tomato, Bacon, Feta, Honey and Mixed Herbs

Summer has finally arrived and we finally get to enjoy those lazy evenings and the warmer weather. And unless we are going to spend them standing outside at the grill, we certainly don't want to be copped-up to long in front of a hot stove! No, this is the time for quick, easy and fun meals... or delicious snacks like these!

Focaccia is basically a flat bread, the same dough that is used for making pizza... and the self-same dough that I like to buy pre-made for spontaneous quick snacks like this. But if you feel the need to knead your own and you have that extra 45 minutes to spare... be my guest!

This whole idea is basically about combining flavors- sweet and savory, mild and spicy, in a light, crispy and fun way. Sure, there are lots of flavors combing together here, but I made sure not to stack too much of each thing onto the bread base and have the typical kind of pizza overkill going on... which I am not a fan of! Please- not too much cheese!!!

The first and most simple variation, was simply thinly sliced cherry tomato, feta cheese, bacon and spring onion. To make sure it came out tasting really wonderful, I first baked the base blind, until it was firm, then rubbed it with a clove of garlic, which I crushed a little so that the juices would spread better. Then I spread out the ingredients evenly on top and baked it for 5 minutes at the highest setting. I then took it out again, added a little sea salt and a good drizzle of honey and gave it another minute or so. I let it cool for 3-4 minutes after taking it out of the oven before adding some fresh thyme... I just love the combination of honey and thyme in the Summer- it's so delicious!

Next came the 2 zucchini variations and the most important aspect here was the finely diced bacon, which I fried in a dry frying pan whilst I cut the zucchini into the thinnest slices could manage. After the bacon had begun to fry and give off it's fat and juices, I removed it from the heat and added the zucchini slices and tossed then around together with the bacon, so that they picked up a light glaze from the juices. I allowed it to cool a little before I got going on laying out the toppings- didn't want to burn my fingers!

First of all, I sprinkled the dough bases very lightly with feta cheese, then laid out the zucchini slices evenly on top. The cheese melts and helps keep the zucchini stuck down... isn't that clever? :-) Once the zucchini was down, I sprinkled the finely diced bacon on top, along with the Spring onion and and a little salt and pepper. I baked again at the very highest setting for 6-7 minutes, then fetched it out briefly so that I could ad the honey. Then back again for 1-2 minutes under the broiler to get wonderfully crispy and brown! I added thyme to both, but made one with some very fine parsley leaves and a squeeze of lemon. Along with the honey, all three of these snacks was really delicious and a nice change from the typical tomato sauce and cheese pizzas... and just perfect for the Summer! Buon apetito!

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