Grape and Rosemary Focaccia—Let’s kick off Grape Week!
Welcome to Grape Week here on LFM! I mentioned in my post about Camp Blogaway back at the beginning of May, that the California Table Grape Commission was my sponsor for the conference. Although I did manage to squeeze some “grape couture” into the weekend, and even convinced Sandy Krogh to add some grape bling to her awesome fork earring!
Since then I’ve been trying my best to patiently wait for grape season to get fully underway here in California so that I could start really playing with grapes. I thought a week of grape celebrating would be a fun way to say thanking to the Commission for their sponsorship, so I hope you enjoy this week as much as I enjoyed dreaming it up! Grapes have a long rich history here in California. They’ve been around for over 200 years (Spanish Friars planted the first vineyards in the 1700s next to their missions), and now almost 100 percent of the commercially grown table grapes produced in the US are from California. Considering the fact that consumption of fresh grapes in the US is about 8 pounds per person per year, that’s a lot of grapes coming out of California! To kick off this week’s celebrations, I’m sharing a recipe for Grape and Rosemary Focaccia that I adapted slightly from a cookbook by the Commission called, Green Black Red: Recipes for Cooking and Enjoying California Grapes. The book’s title references the three colors that fresh California grapes come in: green, blue-black, and red, and the book is an exploration of all the wonderful ways that grapes can be used in cooking.
This focaccia recipe is really easy, but the result is fabulous. I love it for the same reason that I love things like salted butter caramel—the combination of salty and sweet delights my taste buds! This simple focaccia is topped with olive oil, fresh grapes, fresh rosemary, and coarse salt and then baked.
The rosemary and salt taste so good with the slightly sweet juicy grapes and the soft focaccia. You’ll be hard pressed to stop yourself after just one piece. Just ask my kids—they would have eaten the entire batch in one sitting if I had let them. (And no, of course I had more self control. Ha!)
Grape and Rosemary Focaccia
Makes 8 servings
5 to 6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 scant tablespoon instant yeast (I recommend SAF Instant Yeast, it’s my favorite!)*
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups warm (110 degrees Fahrenheit) water
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups green, red, and/or black grapes
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (1 teaspoon dried)
1. If using an electric stand mixer, combine 3 cups of the flour, and all of the sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl. Add the water then mix well, using the paddle attachment. Then change to the dough hook and gradually add more of the flour, kneading well between each addition, until the dough is smooth, fairly firm, and no dough sticks to the side of the bowl, about 5 minutes. If not using a mixer, stir together 3 cups of flour, and all of the sugar, yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl, then add the water and mix together with a large wooden spoon. Turn the dough out onto a heavily floured board and knead while gradually incorporating more flour into the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
2. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a dry cloth. Let rest in a warm place until the dough has doubled, about 1 hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the olive oil onto a 12-by-16 1/2-inch baking sheet or 2 pizza pans. Lift the dough from the bowl and gently stretch and press it to fit the pan. Drizzle the dough with the remaining olive oil and dimple the top of the bread with your fingertips. Press the grapes into the dough evenly all over the bread, leaving about 1 inch between grapes. Sprinkle the bread generously with the chopped rosemary and coarse salt.
5. Bake the focaccia until it is a nice crisp brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut with a pizza cutter into squares. Serve warm with cheese, or use to make into wonderful panini sandwiches.
* The original recipe uses regular dry yeast. If this is what you have on hand, simply replace the instant yeast with 1 envelope (1/4 ounce or 3/4 tablespoon) dry yeast. Sprinkle the yeast onto the water in a small bowl, then add the sugar and stir together. Let the mixture rest until the yeast blooms, 3 to 4 minutes. If using an electric stand mixer, combine the yeast mixture, 3 cups of the flour, and the salt. Mix well, then change to the dough hook and gradually add more of the flour, kneading well between each addition, until the dough is smooth, fairly firm, and no dough sticks to the side of the bowl, about 5 minutes. If not using a mixer, stir together the yeast mixture, 3 cups of flour, and the salt and mix together with a large wooden spoon. Turn the dough out onto a heavily floured board and knead while gradually incorporating more flour into the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Then proceed with step 3 above as written.