What else can I put on focaccia?

There’s almost no limit to what can go on focaccia, but like pizza, the sparer you are with your toppings, the better the result. Salt, herbs and oil is the classic combo, and the herbs can be whatever you like: rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley, oregano, chives, sage, tarragon, chervil…either by themselves or in combination. Roasted garlic is another tried-and-true (just make sure you roast the cloves ahead of time and push them well down into the dough). Raisins, believe it or not, are common as a focaccia topping in the old country (where both sweet and savory focaccia abound), and are often accompanied by a light dusting of cinnamon. Other sweet variations include dates, (possibly with nuts, possibly with honey instead of oil) and candied orange peels. A few black olives can be very nice, throw on a couple of anchovies and some herbs to go full-on Provence. And let’s not forget cheese. A light dusting of good parmesan is delightful, especially with some thin-sliced or roasted garlic, but then lots of cheeses work well with focaccia (mozzarella, provolone, goat cheese, feta…just make sure to add them later in the baking…about halfway through, so they don’t burn). Where vegetables are concerned you can do chopped onion, chopped or sliced tomato, roasted red pepper slices, chopped mushrooms, sliced shallots, thin-sliced zucchini or yellow squash, spinach…just don’t pile on too many, or the result will be sodden bread. Pine nuts and walnuts work wonderfully, purées of all types (tapenade, pesto, roasted garlic), even meats like shredded chicken, sausage or pepperoni.

That’s a lot of stuff — and it’s by no means an exhaustive list (write in with more if you like, friends). Just for goodness sake don’t overload your dough. Think of your toppings more like garnishes and you’ll do fine. Mangia, mangia!

THAT WAS FAST: Lauren A. suggests using flavored oils. Sounds good.

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