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Focaccia di Recco PGI with cheese: Ligurian pride

Let’s face it: the discovery of new flavors is one of the pleasures that travel reserves for us. As a gourmet souvenir to take in your suitcase, or even better to taste on the spot, traditional dishes are the sensory experience we are all looking for!
In this article we will let you discover an entirely Ligurian delicacy. Not the usual recipe, but the characteristics of the Recco PGI focaccia with cheese according to the production regulations.

The origins of the Recco focaccia

As often happens, the story of a recipe is cloaked in legend. It is not clear when and why the Recco focaccia was created. According to some sources, its origin dates back to the time when, for fear of Saracen invasions, the Genoese population took refuge in the hinterland, drawing sustenance from the few ingredients available: flour, oil and cheese.
Still other sources tell us of a much older origin, dating back to the Roman era. It is certain, however, that the well-known focaccia is an invention to be attributed to the “Recco valley”, a territory that also includes the municipalities of Avegno, Sori and Camogli.

The characteristics of the focaccia di Recco IGP

The Recco focaccia, the original PGI with cheese, is made up of two thin sheets stuffed with fresh cheese. There is no trace of yeast in the dough, and the skill of the “focacciao” is essential for the success of the recipe. As we said, in fact, the characteristic of this Ligurian specialty is the very thin and elastic dough, which must not break once placed on the pan.

The difference with respect to the Genoese focaccia, therefore, is evident: it is not a leavened product and the thickness, as we have seen, can only be lower. In addition, the focaccia di Recco PGI is unmistakable for its golden surface and the brown holes from which the melted cheese comes out.
Its texture is crunchy, and the pasta tastes like freshly baked bread. The intoxicating scent is that typical of fresh cheese, with slightly acidic notes.

What does the IGP brand mean and what it stands for

But what does the IGP brand that the Recco focaccia boasts? As we have also seen in the case of Genoese PDO basil, the geographical conditions of a territory can be decisive in the yield of unmistakable aromas and flavors.
The protected designation of origin (PGI), unlike the protected designation of origin (PDO), establishes that at least part of the production process is confined to the geographical area to which it is linked. Each phase of this process is monitored by a control body, which has the task of supervising the work of the operators in the supply chain. These, in fact, must guarantee traceability and respect the production disciplinary.

The production method according to the specification

The ingredients allowed by the IGP regulations for focaccia di Recco are:
• 00 soft wheat flour
• Still water
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Fine salt
• Fresh cow’s milk soft cheese
If you thought that the cheese used was stracchino, you will have to change your mind. The quality of the filling is one of the secrets of the success of this focaccia. To withstand the high oven temperatures, the cheese must have a creamy consistency, without cream. It must not spill, bubble or release serum.

 

The preparation of the dough

Once the ingredients have been established, the flour, water, oil and salt are processed until a soft dough is obtained. At this point it is left to rest for 30 minutes, covered with a cotton cloth or inside food containers. After this time, the dough is divided into the necessary portions.

 

The drafting of the first layer

A portion of the dough is taken and, armed with a lot of patience, we proceed to the manual drafting of a first thin sheet. The thickness should be less than one millimeter, being careful not to create holes in the surface. Once the work is finished, the pasta is placed on an oiled baking sheet.

The filling and the second layer

At this point, small pieces of cheese are distributed over the entire surface of the sheet. We will then proceed with the processing of the second layer, as thin as the first and almost transparent, to be placed on the already filled base.

Finishing and cooking

With your fingers the overlapping edges of the two sheets are pressed, in order to prevent the cheese from coming out during cooking. Opening holes are then created on the upper part, from which the steam can escape. It ends with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a little salt.
Finally, the cooking. This must take place in the oven at 270 ° -320 ° C for about 4-8 minutes, until the surface of the pastry is golden, with brown bubbles and streaks. The specification does not allow any pre-cooking, freezing or other preservation techniques.

The Recco PGI focaccia with cheese is a fresh product, to be consumed within the day! To appreciate it at its best, therefore, you must necessarily come to Liguria.
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