Monday, April 20, 2009

Red Grape Foccacia

During a recent trip to Barnes and Noble my husband and I spent our usual hour or so perusing the wine and food sections respectively, and stumbled across this amazing book called Wine Bar Food by Cathy and Tony Mantuano. Tony is a chef-owner at Spiaggia in Chicago and he and Cathy opened the South Beach Miami location last year. The book has recipes from their travels in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. The first receipe I had to make was the Red Grape Foccacia, not only because I love making bread, but the picture and description sounded so amazing.

I amended the recipe slightly omitting some of the oil and adding a little fresh ground black pepper for contrast and the result was a fantastic combination of sweet and salty. It came out fluffy on the inside and crispy and delicious on the outside. My only complaint (if you can call it that) was that this made an entire cookie-sheet sized "loaf", which is too tempting to have around - so we cut it into four blocks and froze 3 for later...I'm curious how it defrosts with the red grapes in there. Next time I may add a little fresh rosemary for another twist, but it's perfectly tasty without it.

Red Grape Foccacia

Adapted from Wine Bar Food by Cathy & Tony Mantuano

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

Pinch of sugar

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2 cups warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 cups bread or all purpose flour

2 teaspoons course sea salt (plus more for sprinkling)

12 ounces red grapes (about 42)

Stir yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and let sit about 5 minutes or until bubbly. Put the flour, salt and pepper in an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Pour yeast mixture into the flour and mix on low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 3-5 minutes.

Transfer the sticky dough to a cookie sheet sprayed with olive oil cooking spray. Pat the dough to form a rough rectangle and let rest about 5 minutes. Stretch the dough in each direction until it fills the pan; fold the dough over itself in three like a letter, arrange to fit on the cookie sheet. Spray with oil, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour. Flip the dough over and stretch so it fills the pan completely. Let rise for 30 minutes. Stud the dough with the red grapes, 6 across and 7 down, spray with more oil and sprinkle with more sea salt to taste (the more the better for us!) and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees and place rack in the middle position. Once heated, lower the oven to 450 and put in the dough. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning the bread halfway through cooking. Remove when golden brown and spray with more oil for a softer crust, or leave dry for crispier crust. Cool for 5-10 minutes on a wire rack and enjoy!


  1. A friend of mine made a similiar foccacia and it was delicious! Looks great and your blog is off to an awesome start! :)

  2. What an interesting bread recipe. Glad to see your blog!

  3. This sounds like a nice change of pace. Good book recommendation too!