Concord Grape Focaccia

October 12th, 2011 / Comments 0

I found concord grapes in the market last weekend and they transported me back to my childhood and Ruby’s grape arbor. Ruby was a gardener and a cook who lived next door.

concord grapes co Concord Grape Focaccia

Concord Grapes Carol Egbert

She showed me how to use small clippers to harvest the bunches of fragrant, purple-black grapes. We sat on her back porch and watched birds feasting on grapes as we separated the ripe grapes from the stems, leaves and spider webs. Ruby always used the grapes we gathered to make enough grape jelly for a winter’s worth of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

My pantry is filled with jelly so I decided to use the grapes from the market to make a focaccia studded with grapes and pine nuts and seasoned with rosemary and olive oil. I wanted to try this classic Italian bread that is made in Tuscany during the wine grape harvest. Here’s how I made it:

Concord Grape Focaccia

I combined one package of active dry yeast with three-quarters of a cup of lukewarm water in a large bowl. I added two tablespoons of honey and stirred until the yeast and honey had dissolved. I set it aside for ten minutes, until the yeast had begun to grow and make the mixture foamy.

I added a quarter of a cup of olive oil, one and two-thirds cups of all-purpose flour, two-thirds of a cup of fine cornmeal and one and a half teaspoons of kosher salt to the yeast mixture, and stirred it with a wooden spoon to form a soft dough.

I turned the dough out onto a floured board and kneaded it until it was smooth and elastic. I added enough flour to the board, about a third of a cup, as I kneaded, to keep it from sticking to my fingers and the board but not so much flour as to make the dough dry.

I oiled a large bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil, put the dough into the bowl and rolled it around until it was coated with oil. I covered the bowl with a cloth napkin and put it on the counter near the oven that was preheating to 400º to rise.

It took me nearly an hour to rinse, halve and remove the seeds from two cups of concord grapes. When I had finished, the dough had doubled in bulk and it was time to assemble the focaccia. I oiled a twelve by seventeen inch baking sheet with olive oil. I gently deflated the dough, (I try never to punch anything in my kitchen), and put it onto the baking sheet sheet. I stretched it to form a disc that was half an inch thick. I used my finger tips to make dimples in the dough, scattered the prepared grapes, half a cup of pine nuts, one and a half teaspoons of minced fresh rosemary leaves, two tablespoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of flaky sea salt onto the dough. I drizzled the focaccia with two tablespoons of olive oil and put it into the oven.

In thirty minutes it was golden brown and dripping with juice the color of garnets. I served it with steamy carrot soup and a green salad. It was fun to pretend that we had spent the day working in a vineyard in Tuscany harvesting grapes.

Down load a recipe for Focaccia with an ingredients list here.

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Concord Grape Focaccia at Vermont food from a country kitchen – Carol

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