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Focaccia with Black Truffle Cheese and Potatoes


1 cups/360 ml lukewarm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
tsp salt
tsp sugar
3 cups/440 g all-purpose/plain flour
6 tbsp/90 ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 oz/85 g sottocenere al tartufo cheese, sliced thinly
1 large russet or yukon gold potato
1 tbsp roughly chopped fresh sage leaves
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Makes one 12 x 16-in / 30 x 40-cm focaccia


Place the water in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast onto the surface of the water, along with the salt and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes to dissolve and then add half of the flour. Stir to form a very wet and sticky starter dough. Place a kitchen towel over the bowl and let the dough stand at room temperature for 2 hours. When the dough has rested and risen by about a third, add the remaining flour along with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Stir to combine and then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes or until it is sticky but has a spring to the touch. Place the dough back in the bowl, rub with a small amount of the olive oil, cover, and let rest for another hour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using the tips of your fingers and the palms of your hands, press and stretch out the dough to form a 12 x 16-in/30 x 40-cm rectangle. The dough will be quite springy, so let it rest a bit between stretching. Rub a 12 x 16-in/30 x 40-cm baking sheet/tray with 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Transfer the dough to the oiled pan and, using only your fingertips, push the dough to the borders of the pan, allowing your fingertips to form deep imprints. Lay the slices of Sottocenere over the top. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/gas 6. When the dough is ready to bake, slice the potato paper-thin using a mandoline or very sharp knife. Doing this at the last minute will help prevent the potato from oxidizing. Lay slices of potato over the Sottocenere in an overlapping pattern that the French call au cheval or horseback. Scatter the sage leaves over the potato slices and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the entire surface. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and the bottom is cooked through. This focaccia is best served slightly warm from the oven, but never serve it hot.

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