The Italians serve focaccia or schiacciata, which means “smashed” or “flattened” in Italian, as a way to use leftover grapes from harvest. This intrigued me because with fall fast approaching I have been searching for alternates to my normal summer appetizers.
When I saw the below recipe in Food and Wine magazine, I knew I needed to give it a go. The results where phenomenal, each bite has a contrasting flavor of sweet and salty and the bread is just the right thickness for the perfect amount of crunch.
Normally, when entertaining I like to have the meal prepared and ready to go. But this bread is worth breaking the rules. You can prepare the majority ahead of time and have the oven pre-heating so that when the guests arrive it just takes a quick 15 minutes from oven to table. The smell of fresh baked bread is so comforting and inviting.
A couple of tips:
If you don’t have a pizza stone you can heat up a baking sheet in the oven before placing the flatbread.
If the thought of yeast makes you uneasy you can cheat the system and shave off some valuable time by purchasing ready made pizza dough. The results are not quite the same but still delicious.
If you would like to serve this as more of a meal then you can easily reduce the salt and add Prosciutto or any other cured meats. I like to serve with a side of honey.
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling
3/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound red grapes (1 1/2 cups)
Coarse sea salt
3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon snipped chives
In a large bowl, whisk the yeast and sugar with 1/4 cup of the flour. Stir in 1/4 cup of the warm water and let stand until slightly foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the rosemary, fine salt, pepper and the remaining 1 3/4 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of water; stir until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a draft-free spot until billowy and doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°. Place a pizza stone in the bottom of the oven, and preheat for at least 30 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Press and stretch the dough into a 13-inch round, then transfer to a lightly floured pizza peel. Press the grapes into the dough and sprinkle with sea salt.
Slide the flatbread onto the hot stone and bake for about 12 minutes, until the crust is golden and the grapes have begun to release some of their juices. Sprinkle the blue cheese on top and bake for about 2 minutes longer, until the cheese melts. Slide the flatbread onto a work surface and drizzle with the honey and sprinkle with the chives. Cut into wedges and serve.