I got the idea from a recipe in Nigel Slater's Real Food, where he marinates mozzarella cheese with basil, olive oil and chillies and then sandwiches it, with some ham, in the middle of a sliced focaccia and griddles it or places it in the oven. I've made a few changes to this - Nigel Slater's version takes an hour to make, with marinating and baking time thrown in. Which is all very well, until one day you come in, late, from the cold, want hot food on the table in a few minutes and a minimum of washing up. And then you make this.
Mozzarella, Ham and Basil-Stuffed Focaccia
- 540g focaccia (the fancy ones with red peppers or roasted onions will be fine, otherwise hunt around for a plain one)
- garlic infused olive oil, for drizzling
- 250g mozzarella
- 4-6 slices Parma ham
- Good handful basil leaves, ripped
- ground black pepper
- Get your oven on and heat it up to 200ºC. Score around the outside of your focaccia to give you an outline of where to slice it, and, with a serrated knife, slice it across so you have two thinner focaccia.
- Place the bottom side on a baking tray. Slice the mozzarella, rip up the basil and place both in a small bowl. Drizzle liberally with garlic oil and season with black pepper. Leave just while you get on with the ham.
- Drizzle a thin layer of garlic oil over the bottom half of the focaccia and slice by slice, lay over the Parma ham, twisting it to fit inside the bread. Lay the mozzarella slices over the top, and pour over any of the juices that have collected in the bottom of the bowl.
- Sandwich with the other half of the focaccia and drizzle the top with more garlic oil. Push it all down and bake for 20 minutes.
- Once hot and crispy and the cheese has melted inside, cut into 6 and serve straight away, with a big green salad.