Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
Giancarla Bodoni is the head chef at Monteverdi in Tuscany, and I’m so lucky to have had the pleasure of cooking with her quite a few times. She has a passion for using the highest quality local ingredients, and turning them into beautiful but simple (in the best possible way) dishes – this grape and rosemary focaccia is a perfect example.
In Bobby and Giada In Italy, we cook with Giancarla quite a bit, and you can see her love of cooking first hand. During one of the meals we all made together, she created this focaccia. It resulted in such a beautifully crisp and crunchy bread, and the fresh grapes and rosemary gave it beautiful flavor. I love the way the grapes burst in the oven, which seeps into the dough and gives it even more flavor.
Now, we don’t all have access to beautiful grapes growing outside our door like we did in Tuscany (if only!), but I find that it’s still great with most store varieties. However, if you do happen to have some really fabulous red grapes, this is the recipe to use them in!
Grape And Rosemary Focaccia
- 3 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour, such as Petra
- 2 cups warm water, at approximately 95 degrees F
- 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups red grapes*
- 5 sprigs of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon coarse or flakey sea salt, for topping
- Extra virgin olive oil, for topping
- *Chef’s Note: Smaller varieties of grapes, such as champagne or strawberry grapes, will work better as they won’t sink to the bottom of the dough. If using a regular variety such as Concord, simply pick the smaller grapes from the bunch.
- Add the bread flour, yeast and salt to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Turn the mixer on low speed for just 15-20 seconds to evenly distribute the ingredients. Add the warm water. Turn the mixer on low speed for about 5 minutes, making sure all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated. The dough will be very wet, loose and sticky. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with plastic wrap or a silicone lid.
- Allow the dough to rest in a dry, warm place for 30 minutes. Once rested, wet your hands slightly to ensure the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers. With one hand, scoop the edge of dough on the farthest side from you, and stretch slightly to gather it in the middle. Rotate the bowl slightly and continue this process until all edges of the dough have been folded to the center. Cover the bowl up again with the plastic wrap or silicone lid, and allow to rest for an additional 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Prepare a baking sheet by adding 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the center, and using a pastry brush or fingers to evenly coat the pan, including the sides. Turn the focaccia dough out onto the oiled baking sheet, using a rubber spatula to get all of it out. With oiled hands, gently work the dough and stretch until it almost covers the whole pan. Don’t worry if the dough retracts or doesn’t reach the ends of the sheet. Be careful to try and not release bubbles in the dough during this process. Allow the dough to rest in a warm place, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- With oiled fingers, gently stretch the dough to cover the entire pan. Make indentations in the dough with your fingers to form dimples all throughout the dough. Distribute the grapes over the focaccia. Sprinkle with the rosemary and the coarse or flakey sea salt. Finish with a generous drizzle of oive oil all over the dough.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Use a metal spatula along the edges if they stick to the pan. Slice into squares and serve.