Fougasse the Provencal Version of Italy’s Focaccia
This recipe for Fougasse with Tomatoes, Olives, and Peppers is a hearty appetizer that your guests will love. Fougasse is a flat bread that you find in both sweet and savoury versions. According to Wikipedia, “Fougasse was traditionally used to assess the temperature of a wood fired oven. The time it would take to bake gives an idea of the oven temperature and whether the rest of the bread can be loaded.”
The ingredients for fougasse and focaccia dough are mostly the same. However, the real difference is during the baking stage. Before baking, the fougasse dough is scored with a knife to create openings, once baked the finished product looks like a leaf or perhaps (to some) a shaft of wheat. Fougasse is baked on a hot stone (like a pizza stone), which traditionally was the hearth, whereas focaccia cooks in a deep, oiled pan. So this Provencal bread – fougasse – ends up being crispier than it’s Italian “cousin.”
This recipe is one of many from this cookbook, Provence Food and Wine: The Art of Living with photos by François Millo.
Fougasse with Tomatoes, Olives, and Peppers
For the Dough:
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 packet Instant Dry Yeast
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
For the Filling:
- 2 Medium tomatoes seeded and chopped
- 5 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Red Peppers cored and cut into strips
- 2 Yellow Peppers cored and cut into strips
- 2 Green peppers cored and cut into strips
- 2 medium Onions chopped
- 1 cup Green or Black Olives pitted and chopped
- 1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme minced
- ½ teaspoon Fresh rosemary minced
- 1 teaspoon Fresh Savory minced
- ½ teaspoon Sea Salt plus more to taste
Prepare the Dough:
- In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.
- In a cup dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the sugar, stir, and let sit for 5-7 minutes, until the yeast starts to bubble.
- Add to the flour, stir and add the olive oil.
- Mix well to combine. If the dough is too wet, add more flour. The dough should not be sticky.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, 8-10 minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball, place in a large, lightly-oiled bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a draft-free warm place for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until double in size.
Prepare the Filling:
- In a medium (4- to 5-quart [3.8- to 4.7-L]) pan, warm up 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Add the peppers and a sprinkling of salt and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the peppers soften.
- In another medium (4- to 5-quart [3.8- to 4.7-L]) pan, warm up the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onions and ½ teaspoon salt and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Punch down dough and halve.
- Pat each half into an oval about 1/4 inch thick.
- Transfer one oval to a lightly oiled large baking sheet. Layer with the tomatoes, onions and olives.
- Cover with the second oval and press the edges to close the fougasse.
- Score the top diagonally.
- Layer the peppers on top, alternating the three colors for visual appeal.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and the herbs.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the fougasse is golden.