October is wild grape time on Nantucket. The island is covered in crawling vines of dark purple and red concord style grapes. While jelly may be the obvious choice to use up this bountiful harvest, I thought a roasted wild grape studded focaccia might be a another good way to feature these beauties. They have a slightly bitter after taste which mellows out when they are roasted like this. And the sweetness and color from the skins goes along perfectly with the salty, herby topping.
In college I studied abroad in Siracusa, Sicilia and lived right around the corner from a panificio that made the most amazing focaccia with the perfect salty, oily (in a good way), herbacious bodacious crust. I literally lived off that stuff for 4 months and have had zero regrets. They also made the best sesame semolina cookies. Oh gosh don’t me started. I want to go back there so bad!!!
For now this will have to suffice…
recipe after the jump…
Wild Grape Foccacia
Yield 2 829" focacce
You can use any type of grapes here if you don't have wild ones available in your area. And you can top this with anything really. The base dough is a keeper for fluffy focaccia, thin crust pizza, or garlic knots. Don't be shy with the extra virgin olive oil here, it's what makes focaccia so yummy and, let's be honest, addicting.
Dough: enough for 2 focacce
- 2 packets of active dry yeast
- 4-1/2 - 5 cups all-purpose or bread flour
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 teaspoons kosher sea salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Toppings: enough for 1 focaccia, double amounts for 2
- 1 cup wild or store bought grapes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 bulb of garlic, roasted
- several sprigs of fresh rosemary, torn into pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Stir together yeast, 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 cup of water in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Let it sit for a few minutes until it starts to bubble and become foamy. If it does not, then discard mixture and start again with new yeast.
- In a mixing bowl add 3 cups of flour, salt, oil, yeast mixture and remaining water and sir until combined. Stir in an additional 1 cup of flour until dough comes together into a ball. Dough should be soft and wet but not too sticky. Sprinkle more flour as you knead dough if it is too wet. Knead for 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic (Note: You can mix and knead in a stand mixer with a dough hook).
- Form dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover bowl with a cloth or wrap and let it rise in a warm spot until it doubles in volume, about 1-1.5 hours.
- Once dough has risen, punch it down and divide it in half. Press 1/2 of the dough into an oiled 8" or 9" cast iron skillet. Wrap remaining dough and store in refrigerator for later use or if you have another skillet or pie plate you can bake both halves at the same time.
- Preheat oven to 500˚F.
- Use your fingertips to press down and create dimples in the dough. Brush with olive oil and press in grapes, garlic and rosemary into dough. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (Note: If baking 2 at once you will have to double the topping ingredient amounts).
- Bake at 500˚F for 5 minutes. Then reduce oven temperature to 425˚F and bake for another 10 minutes. Top should be dark golden brown and bread should sound hollow when tapped.
- Run knife along the sides of the skillet to loosen focaccia and use a spatula to remove focaccia from pan. Cool focaccia on a cooling rack. If top looks dry, brush on a little more olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
I like to let yeasted dough rise in my oven (turned off) with the light on. The light gives off just enough heat. If it is a really cold day you can preheat the oven to its lowest temp and turn it off before placing dough in there, and leave door cracked to help the dough rise faster.
Focaccia will keep covered at room temperature for several days.
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