The salty sweet focaccia al formaggio di Recco is named for the small town on the Liguria coast from where it originates called Recco. With less than 10,000 residents, Recco is little known if only for it’s focaccia and by water sports enthusiasts for its waterpolo team. Made from flour, water, salt, olive oil and crescenza or stracchino cheese, it’s the focaccia that defies all perceptions of the name.
Regular focaccia is often eaten cold and is known for being thick, a staple on Genovese breakfast tables and mostly eaten as simple as bread alone. In Recco, creamy spreadable cheese melts into a pool of chewy dough on the bottom covered by crunchy dough on top is thin and served hot. The two thin layers of dough about a millimeter thick, filled with cheese, is baked in the oven to order and best consumed piping hot. Baked in a steel, shallow circular pizza pie-like pan, unlike regular focaccia which is usually baked in deeper rectangular baking pans.
Since 1935, the Sorbillo family has been feeding Napoli, serving up not only the iconic Pizza Napoletana and (some say even more importantly) a close relative: pizza fritta. Walk the streets of Napoli and you’ll be hard pressed not to find a corner of the city where the scent of fried dough in the air fails to linger. Fried pizza has been said to be as common as Mozzarella di Bufala or Sfogliatelle. There are two likely guesses. Time and money.
Architect, illustrator and Food Designer Lucia Amaddeo joined me on a pizza tour in October and created this beautiful illustration inspired by her experience. I love her addition of fresh flowers and fallen leaves. Her moon-shaped Pizza Fritta at the center is a crowd favorite (and mine too!). Check out her work on her Instagram page @lucia.amaddeo