A small amount of cornmeal gives this focaccia--a flat bread--a perfect texture for improvised open sandwiches. You might start with thinly sliced salami and cheese.
PREHEAT OVEN TO 450F. Fifteen minutes before baking focaccia, put rack in center of oven. If you have 2 ovens, preheat both; otherwise bake focaccias in sequence, one after the other. Generously oil 2 large baking sheets, preferably black steel. Stir yeast and sugar into warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Mix flour, cornmeal and salt in food processor fitted with metal blade (can also be kneaded with mixer dough hook or by hand). Turn on processor. Slowly pour yeast mixture through feed tube. Also pour 2 tablespoons oil through. Process until dough cleans inside of work bowl but is still moist. If it sticks, add a little flour; if it's dry, add a little water. Once dough is moist but not so wet that it sticks to sides of bowl, process until uniformly kneaded, elastic and supple, about 40 seconds. Transfer dough to large plastic food bag, squeeze out air and seal at top, allowing room for dough to expand. Let dough rise in warm spot until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down; use immediately or refrigerate overnight. Combine remaining 6 tablespoons oil, garlic and dried herbs. Gently heat until warm (not hot) on stove top or microwave oven. Divide dough in half. Let rest 5 minutes. On floured board, roll each piece into about a 12-inch round. Transfer to prepared baking sheets. Prick surface with fork. Brush with oil mixture, including edges. Sprinkle with Kosher salt. Bake, one at a time, until very lightly browned around edges only, about 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Check after 2 minutes in oven; prick any air pockets with fork. Brush with any remaining oil, including edges. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and pepper flakes. Can be baked in advance and frozen. To do so, cool completely, freeze and then wrap airtight. Let thaw in wrapping. To reheat, place in cold oven and set at 300F. Bake until hot, about 5-7 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve hot.
Makes: 2 12-inch rounds.
ABBY MANDEL - PRODIGY GUEST CHEFS COOKBOOK