When it comes to appetizers, some like buffalo wings. Others like chips and salsa. My personal favourite is some warm, straight-out-of-the-oven salty focaccia, with a dipping sauce of extra-virgin olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar. Should you present me with that, I apologize, but I doubt I’d be paying attention to whatever you say next… I’d be distracted. And were you in my shoes in such a situation, you’d be, too. Mmmh.
Last week H and I decided to have a grape-themed night. I found us some matching cookbooks at Half-Price Books that are all about grapes! Green Black Red features all California grape recipes, and it had some delicious-looking things in there, indeed. We picked the two best-looking ones and went for it.
The focaccia looked fantastic in the book, and ours came out virtually identical (except quite a bit more thick, but hey, who’s going to complain about that?). It’s golden and crisp on the outside, encrusted with juicy red grapes, dusted with fresh rosemary sprigs and large-grain sea salt. And it’s Heavenly.
Grape & Rosemary Focaccia
Adapted from Focaccia with Grapes & Rosemary from Green Black Red
- 1 package dry yeast
- 5 cups organic AP flour (King Arthur, unbleached)
- 1.5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1.5 cups fresh red grapes, whole
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh rosemary sprigs
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Place yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add warm water, then stir in sugar. Let sit 5 minutes/ set aside.
- Stir together the yeast mixture with 3 cups of the flour and the kosher salt using a large wooden spoon.
- Once fully mixed, slowly incorporate the remaining 2 cups of flour 1/2 cup at a time, using your hands to knead the flour into the dough. Keep kneading until it is smooth and elastic (for approx 10-15 minutes).
- Temporarily place the dough on a work surface, clean the bowl, and dry. Lightly brush extra virgin olive oil around the bottom and halfway up the sides of the bowl, then place the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and check the dough. If it has doubled in size, then pour the 1/2 cup of olive oil in the bottom of a large, round tart dish/pizza pan or baking sheet. Place the dough into the pan and gently stretch it out to fit.
- Dimple the bread with your finger, and make dimples ever 1/2 inch. Place a grape in each dimple, then sprinkle the top of the bread with the rosemary and sea salt. Drizzle olive oil over the top.
- Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes (depends on the heat of your oven; I baked for 20 minutes and could have even gone down to 18 or so- my oven is hot), until the top is crisp and golden brown but not hard. Cut with a serrated knife or pizza cutter and serve warm with the dipping sauce I mentioned above, or with wine and cheese.
Mine was too thick to make panini, but the book suggests using it as a sandwich bread as well. Personally, though, I like it better as thick squares you can pull apart while warm and munch on as a pre-dinner sort of thing, or as a snack. How do you eat yours?