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Tomato and onion focaccia

Categories: Friday feeling

A golden slab of doughy goodness from Olivier's Bakery

Of all the sad, soulless products laying claim to the word ‘healthy’, low calorie olive oil sprays have to be one of the most egregious. It’s a sorry sign of just how out of tune with food some in this day and age are, that we can take something as nourishing, delicious and ancient as olive oil, and reduce it to a bland spritz from a can.

Olive oil as it should be—extra-virgin, cold pressed, untreated by chemicals—demands to be used generously: glugged into pasta, drizzled on salads, stirred through risotto and of course, doled out lavishly atop this week’s Friday feeling: tomato and onion focaccia from Olivier’s Bakery.

“All our olive oil is from Danilo Manco at The Olive Oil Company in Borough Market. It is 100 per cent Italian, not a blend of oil from all different places. You can taste the difference,” says Olivier, “and we are generous.” Not for Olivier a mean spritz as an afterthought. “We brush the dough with the oil before baking and we brush it again after as it comes out the oven.”

Amethyst slithers of roasted onion
Crested with vegetables, the result oozes flavour, not to mention a rich moisture which melds the pillowy dough with the dusky rosemary, amethyst slithers of roasted onion and caramelised vine tomato halves from Ted’s Veg.

It wants for nothing: not even a sprinkle of goat’s cheese—and when it comes to focaccias, Friday feeling can pay no higher compliment. Not that a bit of cheese would go amiss, of course (“you could take it home, top it with cheese and make it into a bit of a pizza if you wanted,” says Olivier) but this bread is not crying out for it in the way almost every other bread in the world seems to.

Its sumptuousness is self-contained. It’s in the rich sweetness of the onions; it’s in the fresh, seasonal tomatoes (“we don’t do this focaccia when tomatoes aren’t in season. That would not be good”); it’s in the dough, handmade fresh every day; and of course it is in Danilo’s extra virgin olive oil which, in Olivier’s worn and capable hands, transforms this age-old ‘hearth cake’ (as focaccia translates) into the crisp, juicy, doughy golden slab worthy of the name.