Concord grape solution

Although I have been terribly neglecting my two Concord grape plants (note to myself: read up on grape pruning this winter), they are quite plentiful. Now I am facing the same question as last year – what should I do with them? The truth is, I don’t care much for raw Concord grapes, nor for grape jelly. I planted the grapes for our daughter who has since flown the nest.

My attempt to make fruit leather last year yielded a sticky mess so I had to come up with a new idea. Schiacciata, the stuffed Italian flatbread made only during grape harvest, sounded good yet it seemed to be rather sweet. I envisioned something more savory. Also, Concords are so juicy that I was afraid they would make the flatbread soggy.

I seeded the grapes – a painstaking task, but luckily I only needed 1.5 cups. I did this over a sieve to catch every single drop of the juice that I used to roast a finely sliced red onion in the oven while I made simple whole-wheat focaccia dough.

It came out just the way I hoped and I know I will want to eat this again when grape season is over. So now I will freeze the grapes in customized portions. Getting stuck with a bunch of concord grapes isn’t so bad after all.

Stuffed Flatbread with Concord Grapes, Red Onion and Rosemary

I use a round cast-iron pizza pan as a baking stone. Since I don’t have a pizza peel, and I don’t master the art of swiftly transferring a large piece of floppy dough onto the hot stone, I placed it on a large piece of parchment.

 2 teaspoons dry yeast

½ teaspoon sugar

2 cups all-purpose white flour

1 cup white whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

1½ cups Concord grapes

1 large red onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

Kosher salt

1. Mix the yeast with the sugar and ¼ cup warm water and stir to dissolve. Set aside for 10 minutes until it foams.

2. Put the flours, 1 cup warm water, the salt, olive oil and yeast mixture in the kitchen machine with a dough hook (if kneading by hand, mix in a bowl, then knead the dough on a clean work surface). Knead at low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic and detaches from the bowl. If too dry, add a bit more water; if too sticky, add more flour by the tablespoon.

3. Take the dough out of the bowl and oil the bowl. Put the dough back in the bowl, turn it once to coat evenly with oil, and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, or cover it loosely with a lid. Let rise for 1 hour.

4. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Oil a gratin dish. Cut a large piece of parchment paper, slightly larger than the size of your baking stone.

5. Wash the grapes. Place a sieve over a bowl and seed the grapes over the bowl to catch all the juice. I find it quicker to first slip all the skins off the grapes, then remove all the seeds.

6. Slice the onion thinly and mix them with the juice from the grapes. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, turning them a couple of times until they are soft and start to brown at the edges. Remove from the oven and cool. Turn off the oven but leave the oven door closed and place the baking stone on the middle rack of the oven (this will already preheat the stone for later).

7. On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough about ¼ inch thick and to about double the size of your baking stone. Mix the onions with the seeded grapes and distribute them evenly over half of the dough. Sprinkle with rosemary and salt. Fold the empty part of the dough over the stuffing, flatten it gently, and pinch all around to seal the edges.

8. Transfer the flatbread onto the prepared parchment paper. Diagonally slash the top every inch or so with a sharp knife. Brush with olive oil and let rise for 30 minutes.

9. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. When the dough is ready to bake, remove the baking stone from the oven. Transfer the parchment paper with the flatbread onto the stone. If you have a lot of excess parchment, carefully cut it off with scissors. Put the baking stone in the middle rack of the oven. Spray the flatbread with cold water and bake for 30 minutes until lightly browned. Remove the baking stone from the oven and slide the flatbread off the stone onto a cake rack to cool.

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