A pinch of history
Maldon, the UK sea salt brand is celebrating its 130th birthday this year with a new recipe book, Desert Island Dishes.
It’s a beautiful book, filled with contributions from 60 high profile British chefs, including Brian Turner, Rick Stein and Gary Rhodes. Each recipe is supposed to represent the meal they would want if they were stuck on an island and of course, each includes Maldon sea salt as an ingredient.
On the downside, there are very few savoury options for vegetarians among the main course recipes, but the dessert section is packed with ridiculously tempting recipes, such as Soft salt caramel from Alain Roux of The Waterside Inn, Black Velvet trinity burnt cream from Richard Tonks of Brook’s, and Pot de creme au chocolat from Regis Negrier.
Keen to test Maldon in a recipe with salt as a key feature, I opted for the Focaccia al rosmarino. The recipe was provided by Stefano Borella of La Cucina Caldesi Cookery School and is straightforward to follow and produces a good quality bread.
Focaccia al rosmarino
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 2 tsp Maldon sea salt
- 15g fresh yeast or dried equivalent (usually half the amount of fresh)
- 300ml tepid water
- 90-100ml extra virgin olive oil
- plain white flour for dusting
- Maldon sea salt for sprinkling
- 1 large sprig of rosemary
- Mix the flour and Maldon salt together in a large mixing bowl
- Blend the yeast into tepid water with your fingers until there are no lumps
- Add the yeast liquid and 2.5 tbsp of the oil to the flour and mix well
- Bring the dough into a ball to leave the bowl clean
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until elastic
- Fold the edges of the dough underneath to create a smooth ball
- Grease the bowl with 20ml of oil
- Put the dough in the bowl smooth side down then turn so that it’s oiled all over
- Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for an hour – it should double in size
- Slide the dough onto a baking sheet, then flatten into an oval about 3cm thick, making indentations with your fingers
- Tuck sprigs of rosemary into the dough
- Leave to rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 220C
- Make more indents with your fingers, then drizzle with the remaining oil and sprinkle with the salt
- Bake fo 15-20 minutes until golden brown – if it doesn’t sound hollow when tapped, turn over and bake for a further 5 minutes
- Cool on a wire rack so that it doesn’t sweat underneath
Sadly my attempt got eaten before I had a chance to photograph it, so you’ll have to make do with the above shot of the book itself. My focaccia was easily that professional looking, though. Honest. *cough*
Desert Island Dishes is available to buy in hardback from Amazon with an RRP of £18.99.
Disclosure: we were sent a copy of Desert Island Dishes and a pack of Maldon for the purposes of this review. No payment was received. All posts are 100% honest.