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Too good to just be called a sandwich

Posted: Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

"Chef Troy" Gagliardo hosts a weekly cooking segment called "Troy's Everyday Eats" live every Tuesday on WCCB News Rising from 7 to 9 a.m. He has made over 300 appearances on the show showcasing over 1000 of his unique original recipes. He was also voted one of the Top Five best chefs in Charlotte in 2013. Troy has penned a cookbook called Pseudo Southern, which has been endorsed by celebrity chef and best selling author Fabio Viviani. His business Motown Spice Provisions supplies some of the top restaurants and country clubs in the greater Charlotte area for the past 10 years. He is a self-taught chef who learned early on the importance of family and food, and the connection between both, from his parents and grandparents. Contact him at Visit, and follow Troy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The names or categories of some dishes/recipes just don’t do them justice. Some “gourmet” sandwiches fall into this ideology because of their sophistication and class.

Take, for example, the recipe below. The freshness of homemade bread, different levels of flavor and the complexity of ingredients denote any ambition of calling this a sandwich.

Thus, the “focaccina” was born. No, I didn’t invent it, but I did however choose to use the word. Focaccina is a noun which by definition means: Scone -- A small, rich, pastry or quick bread, sometimes baked on a griddle.

The thinking is that the dough is a quick bread, pizza dough. It is then cooked, before separating top layer from bottom, on a griddle… but I gave way to better notions and used an open flame on the grill. From here, this “sandwich” can be stuffed/flavored with anything. Keeping in mind that food is balance: less is more and all that fun stuff.

One trick to making this resemble the perfect “true grilled cheese” is to add a small amount of cheese, then filling of choice, leaving small gaps revealing the cheese. Then top with another scattering of cheese and top layer of bread. Wrap the focaccina with foil and place on the top rack of the grill/oven. The two layer of cheese will meet in the middle of your lovely fillings of choice and your focaccina will perfectly sealed and warmed all the way through.

Focaccina with Provolone, Arugula, Grilled Cremini Mushrooms

1 recipe basic Pizza Dough Recipe, see recipe below
To Brush, Olive Oil
To Taste, Chef Troy’s Spice Mix-or Kosher Salt/Black Pepper
2 Bulbs Garlic
2 ½ Cups Grated Provolone
2 Cups Arugula
8 Ounces Cremini Mushrooms


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Half garlic blub, top from bottom, drizzle with oil and season with Spice Mix.
Place in oven and roast for 1 hour or until soft and easy to squeeze out of skin.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Make dough according to recipe.
Preheat grill for direct and indirect heat grilling to medium high heat.
Pre-heat a perforated grill pan over direct heat side.
Place mushrooms in a bowl and drizzle with oil, season with Spice Mix and place in grill pan.
Grill to slightly char and warm through, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes.
Remove, chop into small pieces and set aside.
Divide dough into two pieces, brush top side with oil and season with Spice Mix.
Place dough over direct heat on grill, oil and seasoned side down.
Brush dough with oil and season with Spice Mix.
Grill on both sides to slightly char and just cook through, about 1-1 ½ minutes per side.
Remove from grill and allow to cool enough to handle.
Using a bread knife, start at one end and slice separating top from bottom.
Separate placing on work surface cut side up.
Squeeze garlic out of skin into a bowl, lightly season with Spice Mix, stir to combine.
Smear garlic spread on both bottom pieces of bread; equally distribute cheese on all four pieces.
Top with arugula, mushrooms and top each with top piece of bread.
Wrap each in foil and place on indirect heat side until cheese melts, about 5 minutes, flipping at least once.
Remove from grill/foil, cut into pieces and serve.

The Best Pizza Dough Ever

1 Cup Warm Water
1 Tablespoon Active Dry Yeast
2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
2 Tablespoons Olive/Canola/Vegetable Oil
2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
2 ½-3 Cups All Purpose/Bread Flour


Combine warm water with yeast and sugar.
Set timer and let rise for 10 minutes.
Warm bowl of stand up mixer/mixing bowl with warm water.
Add yeast water to bowl and add oil, salt and 5 cups of the flour.
Add bowl to stand up mixer and attach the dough hook.
Mix on low speed until a sticky ball of dough is formed, add remaining flour if necessary.
Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover, set timer for one hour and let rise.
Divide into two potions, roll into balls and use immediately.
Or place on lightly oiled sheet and freeze individually.
Remove after frozen, place in freezer bags and store in freezer until ready to use.
Thaw in refrigerator overnight when ready to use.

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