It is harvest time, time to make Schiacciata!
This version of Focaccia (Italian flatbread) is traditionally made in Tuscany during the harvest season where red wine grapes are usually used. Wine grapes are smaller berries than table grapes and the pips give the bread a nutty flavour. I have tried seedless red grapes, but I prefer to venture into my friend’s vineyard to pick a bunch or two of red grapes to achieve the authentic flavours.
I was going to pick some Cabernet grapes, but Andre offered me a couple of bunches of Catawba grapes. This grape varietal is native to the East coast of the USA. It has a slight ‘foxy’ flavour and a delicious sweetness. The berries are small and the skins are not too thick. Catawba is seldom used for wine making, but is popular for jams and jellies.
Slice half of the grapes, enabling some of the juice to seep into the bread. Traditionally rosemary is added with the grapes. It is finished off with a sprinkling of flaked salt and olive oil before baking.
A figgy variation….
I had a bowl of over ripe black and green figs, so I halved the recipe and made one grape focaccia and the other,fig and thyme. Both are delicious! We bought the black figs, but the green ones from my garden have been prolific this year, sans water!
My basic Foccacia (Italian flat bread) recipe, contains wine, so it is even more appropriate to make during the grape harvesting season.
One of my friends thinks that I am crazy and old fashioned preferring to hand knead, as she whizzes her bread in the food processor! There are two reasons why I love making bread, the kneading and that warm yeasty smell of baking bread, so I mostly hand knead, but you are welcome to use your food processor!
On a hot summer’s day the dough rises quickly, but in winter my ‘household tip’ is to place the bowl or baking tray on the floor (covered and not in a thoroughfare!) when the heating is on. It is just warm enough for perfect yeast action!
I served the breads with cheese and Parma ham as a light meal. They are also ideal to accompany a barbeque or a hearty soup such as butternut or cream of cauliflower soup.