A soft, tasty bread with some nice crusty edges meets homemade pesto, fennel salami, and Asiago cheese. Fun food made scrumptious.
Song of the day: Dreamers Of The Shore -Volcan Peaks, Cody Francis
I was watching Nadiya Bakes on Netflix a few weeks ago. After pulling out gorgeous sweet bakes one after the other, she started making a savory pull-apart bread with sriracha, pepperoni and cheese slices. My husband said "you have to make this!". The rest is history, with me, of course, putting my Italian spin to it.
Pesto and salami (and Asiago)
What could be more Italian than having in the same sentence, and in the same bread, homemade pesto, a Tuscan fennel salami, and Asiago cheese? Nothing, let me tell you. They go so well together, especially when they meet a bread dough that is flavored with oregano. Moreover, in the end, this pull-apart bread gets all slathered in good evo oil. Do I need to say more?
Making the dough
I made the dough in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. It didn't take long at all. If you're doing it by hand, just use a bowl, add the ingredients in the same order as below, and knead by hand until a soft dough is obtained.
- Add the flour, oregano, sugar, salt on one side, and yeast on the other side. Mix everything on low, then make a well in the centre, add the water and start mixing the dough on low, then mix on medium speed for about 6 minutes, or until the dough wraps around the hook.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and cover with greased cling wrap.
- Set in a warm place, away from air draughts (I put it in the oven, turned off, with the light on) to rise until doubled in size, about 1.5-2 hours.
- Tip the dough out on to a flour-dusted work surface and gently roll it out to a rectangle of 25 x 35cm.
- Spread pesto on the surface with an offset spatula, leaving a little empty border.
- Sprinkle the grated Asiago on top of the pesto.
- Then, arrange the salami slices in rows of two.
- Now cut the rectangle in half lengthwise and in four sections to obtain 8 squares.
- Take each square and fold it in half like a book. Stack them side by side in the greased tin leaving the side with the filling facing up.
- Then cover the top with greased clingwrap and set to rise again, until doubled in size, about 1 hour. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
- Remove the cling wrap and bake in the middle section of your oven for 20-25 minutes or until nice and golden.
- Take it out of the oven and brush all over with extra virgin olive oil. This will create a lovely shine on the bread and an additional softness and flavor.
You can create your own variations, just don't use ingredients that have a lot of moisture. Instead of pesto, an aioli would be good, or sriracha, or tomato sauce. Bigger salami or pepperoni slices would be perfect to fit into the pockets. As for cheese, provolone, mozzarella, Friulano, Havarti, Swiss, also in slices, which would make it a lot easier.
The best part about this recipe is eating it. You pull apart the layers and this luxuriousness comes through. You see, the pesto, the cheese, the salami, and the aroma, oh that aroma, causes nothing but extensive mouthwatering.