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However, all opinions expressed here are my own.
The last time I swung in to The Quail & Olive*, Anni asked if I wanted to come up with some recipe ideas for one of her holiday trio gift packs. Absolutely, yes!
I grabbed the combination that included the Ascolano and Triple A olive oils with the Tuscan Melody Balsamic Vinegar.
Like the Pacific Spice Vinegar, Tuscan Melody Balsamic Vinegar is another creation from Craig Clark of Chaparral Gardens just down the coast in Atascadero. This vinegar is made from fresh oregano and blackberries from his farm and those spicy vegetal notes of the oregano made me think of one of my favorite Italian flatbreads: schiacciata.
I opted to use the Triple A olive oil which is a blend of Arbequina, Arbosana, and Ascolano olive oils. It's grassiness was a nice match for the vinegar which also has herbal notes.
Schiacciata (pronounced skee-ah-chee-AH-ta) means 'flattened down,' and, in Tuscany, the term usually refers to flatbread—what is generally called focaccia in other parts of Italy. During the grape harvest, Tuscans make a schiacciata with dough and grapes. This is my own take on it, with a drizzle of the Tuscan Melody and a sprinkling of herbs.
Ingredients makes two flatbreads
- 2 cup warm water
- 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 Tablespoon organic granulated sugar
- 5 cups flour, plus additional for kneading
- 1 Tablespoon freshly sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/2 cup olive oil (I used the Triple A olive oil) plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 cup grapes (depends on size), sliced in half lengthwise
- herbs (I used a combination of dried oregano, fresh sage, fresh tarragon, and fresh oregano)
- balsamic vinegar for serving (I used the Tuscan Melody Balsamic Vinegar)
- freshly ground salt, as needed
- freshly ground pepper, as needed
- Also needed: baking stone
Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Let the yeast bloom for 10-15 minutes - until frothy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and olive oil with the yeast mixture. Beat with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes until it becomes smooth and soft. Sprinkle with more flour if the dough is really sticky.
Coat the inside of the bowl lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl and turn to coat. Cover it with a dish towel and put it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, at least 90 minutes.
Turn half of the dough onto the baking stone and drizzle some olive oil over the top. Stretch the dough to whatever shape and size you want. Then press the grapes into the dough. You can just randomly place them or make designs; I have done it both ways. Repeat with the second half of the dough on another baking stone.
Sprinkle salt and herbs over the top, then drizzle with olive oil. Put the dough in the warm place until it has doubled in size again, about 30 minutes.
While the dough is in its final rise, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the schiacciata for 20 to 25 minutes - until the bread is crisped and golden. Remove from the oven.
Sprinkle with fresh herbs and more salt. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Drizzle with more olive oil and the balsamic vinegar before serving.
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