For me, Call Me By Your Name was a devastating glimpse into what my summer COULD have been. Like Elio and Oliver, I spent a summer in a creaky old Northern Italian house that seemed to sweat. I chugged thick apricot juice at the pool and cracked soft-boiled eggs. Unlike Elio and Oliver, I did NOT find a great love. Except, of course, my great love of focaccia.
I wasn't prepared for this love. I thought focaccia was just a type of bread, and I was perplexed when I saw it as a street food everywhere I went. A few weeks in, I approached a focaccia stand in Piazza Castello and ordered a prosciutto and mozzarella focaccia in embarrassing Italian. The woman cut a slab of focaccia from a huge sheet pan, wrapped it in parchment paper, and handed me the steaming sandwich. The second I took a bite, I understood. Melty mozzarella and salty ham and the fluffiest dimpled bread, all married as one. I could eat ten. I wanted to recreate them at home, but had no idea how. I was thrilled to see the roasted tomato picnic sandwiches in Smitten Kitchen Every Day, which mimicked the focaccia slab sandwich situation. Deb just made a simple pizza dough, spread one half of the dough on a sheet pan, filled it with roasted tomatoes, cheese, and olives, and topped it with the other half of the dough. I made these picnic sandwiches and was thrilled with how they turned out, and enjoyed a week of focaccia-ish lunches. This week, though, I wanted to try the fillings that I first fell in love with.
I used good mozzarella-- i.e. wet mozzarella. I anticipated this problem, but didn't know how to remedy this. My pizza dough was a little overworked, a little thin, and I definitely shouldn't have topped this salt bomb with more Maldon, but I felt familiarity when I ate one of these focaccias. I felt the satisfaction of a hot cheesy sandwich and an ice-cold lemon tea on a 90 degree summer day in the middle of a piazza. Italy may not have gifted me a boyfriend that makes me cry for seven minutes in front of a fireplace, but it did give me the gift of a complicated bread recipe to perfect. Which is a lot like a tender makeout from Armie Hammer and/or Timothée Chalamet.