A Sfincione is a thick Sicilian pizza that is essentially a focaccia (in Italian) when not made with a tomato sauce topping. Just like focaccia, the dough is lightly crusty and soft on the inside. This sfincione is made with sundried tomatoes, black olives, cacio cheese, anchovies, and oregano. Sicilians love anchovies in their sfincione. A key ingredient – anchovies – are usually used to add saltiness to the dough. You can omit the anchiovies if you’re not too crazy about them.
SFINCIONE (FOCACCIA) WITH SUNDRIED TOMATOES, OLIVES, AND ANCHOVIES
Difficulty Rating: Medium
Makes 1 10-inch focaccia.
2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey or granulated sugar
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 cup warm water, divided
3 to 4 anchovy fillets, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
10 to 12 sundried tomato halves packed in oil
1/4 cup shaved Caciocavallo or Asiago cheese
Pitted oil cured black olives
1.MAKE THE DOUGH: Generously grease a large bowl with olive or vegetable oil.
Mix 1/4 cup water with honey in a small bowl. Stir in yeast and let sit about 10 minutes, until foamy. Using an electric mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, combine flour with salt for 1 minute at low speed. Add in yeast mixture, remaining water, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Continue mixing for 1to 2 minutes until combined. Switch to dough hook attachment and knead dough on medium speed for 5 to 6 minutes; mixture will start to come away from the sides of the bowl. Alternatively, you can knead the dough by hand but you may have to add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky to handle. Transfer the dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place until the dough is double in size, about 1 hour.
2. PREPARE THE SFINCIONE: Place tomatoes in a small bowl. Fill bowl with enough boiling water to cover tomatoes and let steep for 10 minutes. Drain tomatoes and pat dry with paper towels to remove any oil residue so that the tomatoes won’t get overly browned when baking. Set aside.
Coat a 10-inch by 2-inch deep, round baking pan or a 10-inch cast iron skillet with remaining olive oil. Place dough into pan. Lightly grease your hands with some olive oil and stretch the dough out to the sides of the pan until it has stretched enough to fit the pan. Lightly press pieces of anchovy into the dough. Sprinkle with oregano. Lightly press tomatoes and olives into dough and arrange cheese on top. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.
3. BAKE THE SFINCIONE: While dough is rising, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place in oven and bake until top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Carefully remove sfincione from pan and place on a rack to cool.