This Italian flatbread is a close cousin of the better-known pizza and has long been found all over the Italian Riviera; it is said to have originated in Genoa. Focaccia has become a popular bakery offering in both Europe and the United States, though sometimes in rather disguised variations. The original version started as a simple, unpretentious bread, traditionally flavored using the herbs and olive oil indigenous to the region where it was made. It was often topped with olives, sweet onions, potatoes, and/or anchovies. Use your imagination to suit your taste and requirements in choosing flavors and toppings, but keep in mind that without the herbed garlic oil to begin with, you are not making an authentic focaccia.
Focaccia is good as a snack or as an accompaniment to soups or salads. If you prefer to make the focaccia round, this recipe will yield 2 disks, 14 inches (35 cm) in diameter, or 15 individual rounds, 5 inches (12.5 cm) in diameter. The individual servings will bake in much less time.