Thursday, 7 March 2013

Sicilian Born 'n' Bread

Schiacciata con Spinaci, Pancetta, Olive e Mozzarella
"Schiacciata" with Spinach, Bacon, Olives & Mozzarella

Oh, I know, everybody loves pizza. But if truth be told and if I have the choice, I prefer something more rustic, simple and "real"- less sauce, less cheese, less fat and more like real food. Back in Sicily, that kind of thing- a pizza without the tomato and folded shut like a "calzone" is called a "schiacciata". Which supposedly refers to the shape, which SHOULD be flat- the word means literally "squashed"... whereas my version puffed up like a loaf! Ha! Needless to say folks, once it cools down a little, this is indeed a fun party food and a nice change to sloppy pizza :-) Take a look and give it a go- you might prefer it too!

There are many variations of schiacciata- the Catanian onion and olive one is simple and delicious and another favorite of mine is potato and broccoli. My main preference is to have some kind of greens in a schiacciata though- or even cauliflower... anything but too much fat or cheese. So this evening it was spinach- with a little chopped bacon and some black olives and just enough mozzarella to make it come together nicely. Yes- it was a great combination!

This was a small sized affair made from one roll of pre-made pizza dough- the kind you can get fresh at the supermarket. And yes, we have had this subject before... and I absolutely 
think it is the way to go if you are on your own as I am and just making one little pie... I will happily make the effort to make my own dough if making 2-3 pizzi for friends :-) , but not just for lil' ol' me on a Thursday night after a hard day at the office!

But first things first... the filling! This was a simple affair, which began like many a good thing with a handful of bacon- yum! Into a hot non-stick pan it went with a finely chopped Spring onion for 2-3 minutes until it began to soften nicely and the bacon began to brown slightly. 
The next thing to go into the pan was the spinach, which was coarsely chopped and a little crushed garlic. I seasoned with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg and then added the tiniest splash of water to give me a blast of steam and to pick up all of the good flavors from the pan... and that was it! Almost all of my work was done... all I needed to do then was to assemble my little masterpiece! 

Whilst the filling and the frying pan cooled, I cut the dough into 2 circles. As soon as the pan was cold enough, I laid one circle out directly in it (no oil) and then spread the filling out on top, leaving a space of at least 1" around the outside edge. I scattered a little mozzarella around on top of the filling- not too much! And of course the black olives, which were also diced-up a little. I then carefully placed the second circle of dough on top and carefully pinched and folded the two circles of dough shut. Doing it directly in the pan avoided any problems in trying to lift it... not to be advised!

So- at that point I turned on the oven to full power, turned on the broiler... and turned on the stove top, so that I could give my schiaccata a head-start before going inside to finish off. So it was on the stove top for 4-5 minutes and in the oven for no longer either... and as you can see, came out crispy, golden brown and delicious! I lightly brushed the schiacciata with olive oil and sprinkled it with a little fine sea salt... and then I enjoyed an amazing suppertime snack I can highly recommend you try for yourselves... because I know you're gonna like it!

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