If ever there was a case for seasonal eating, this concord grape focaccia is it.
And, now, the confession alluded to in the title of this post:
I’m all about seasonal eatingI’m one of those people you hear waxing rhapsodic about things like the first peaches of the summer, makes multiple trips to the greenmarket to get as many sour cherries as possible, and who hunts down ramps (it counts if it’s in a restaurant, right?). I’ve been known to send alerts about the first appearance of cider donuts in the Union Square Greenmarket to a dear friend of mine who is obsessed (and, yes, I’m counting that as seasonal).
Except when I’m not.
This is all a long way of getting at this: last year, I totally dropped the ball.
Although I saw this recipe for concord grape focaccia on Smitten Kitchen in early September and put it to the top of my top “to cook” pile, I let it languish, assuming that I had more time. And, that it couldn’t possibly live up to my expectations at any rate.
Right. About thatit was even better than I had expected.
And, it’s grape season now. Which means, your Saturday plans should involve a trip to your local market. You could make this focaccia with grapes other than the concord variety, but really, why would you? The concord grapes work perfectly. Their intense sweetness makes them the perfect foil for saltiness of the bread. They’ve got just enough acid to compliment the bread base. Before you know it, you’ll have finished an entire focaccia loaf. And, thinking about hiding the second one from your brunch guests.
Do yourself a favor: buy an extra pint of concord grapes while you can. You’re going to want to freeze them, so you can make this long after the season has ended.
And, you might want to infuse some in vodka, too. Watch this space for some instructions.
Concord Grape Focaccia
Recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen
3/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons milk, slightly warmed
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups halved Concord grapes (you can use red grapes here, too)
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Deremera sugar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
In the bowl of on electric mixer, combine water, milk, granulated sugar, and yeast and allow the mixture to sit until it is foamy. This should take approximately ten minutes.
Add the flour, salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the yeast mixture and mix well, using a paddle attachment, on low. Once the mixture has been combined, replace the paddle attachment with a dough hook and knead the dough on medium-low for another 8 minutes.
Once the dough is well combined, scrape the dough into into a ball and place it in a well oiled bowl. The brush the top with additional oil. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a cool place, letting it rise until it doubles in size. This will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
One the dough has risen, press the dough down with a floured hand. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide it into two balls. Brush a large parchment lined baking sheet with olive oil. Place the dough balls on to the baking sheet and brush the tops with more oil. Set it aside for 20 minutes, lightly covered with a kitchen towel. After 20 minutes, dip your fingers in olive oil and press and stretch each ball of dough into a 8 to 9-inch circle-ish shape. The dough should be dimpled from your fingers. Cover again it again with the towel and let it rise for another 1 1/4 hours in a cool place.
While the dough is rising again, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Using the remaining olive oil, brush the dop of the dough. Top it with the grapes, rosemary, coarse sugar and coarse sea salt, spreading it all into an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and puffed around edges. Cool before serving.
Makes two 8-9″ focaccia loaves