Thursday, October 29, 2015

Skillet Rosemary Flatbread with Pan-Roasted Grapes, Burrata, and Saba

Grapes are at their peak in fall, and in California they're still abundant at the farmers' markets. From Concord, to Crimson seedless, to Red Globe, and more. 

I love incorporating grapes into my cooking, particularly in savory dishes: adding them to pan-seared and roasted chicken dishes, or braises of sausages in the oven. They are also great quick pickled as a side for cheeses (recipe coming soon). And they're really lovely baked into different kinds of breads.

In the homemade bread category, flatbread is one of the easiest recipes. The rising time is an hour or less, you don't need any fancy machines or gadgetry, and the cook time is under 10 minutes. This flatbread gets topped with skillet pan-roasted grapes, buttery burrata, and rich syrupy saba. 

Burrata is a fresh cheese made of mozzarella and cream; you can find it pretty easily now, and they even carry it at Trader Joe's. It can be a little pricier than mozzarella (which is a perfectly good substitute if you can't find burrata), but it's also richer, creamier and arguably more delicious. For me, it's a special occasion cheese, and one I like to serve when I'm entertaining.

Saba is an Italian syrup made out of cooked down grape must. It's sweet, dark, molasses-y and still has the acidic quality of a very good vinegar. I have been able to find it at Whole Foods and gourmet food stores, but if you can't find it, balsamic reduction (which you can make or by) is a perfectly great substitute. If all else fails, a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar will do, too. Pomegranate molasses could be lovely as well. 

You can also top your flatbread with any other kind of topping you like (tomatoes and basil, pesto and pine nuts, etc.) Or you can serve it plain with a dip. 

I originally developed this recipe for a project about vineyards around the country during harvest season. We were working on dishes that would pair well with wines, and that might be nice for casual entertaining. All of the dishes were made simple enough that they could even be prepared outdoors (over a portable butane burner). This dish felt especially perfect for fall, as an appetizer or afternoon treat with a good glass of wine. Enjoy!

Skillet Rosemary Flatbread with Pan-Roasted Grapes, Burrata, and Saba
Makes 2 large flatbreads

for the flatbread-
1 packet dry yeast
2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup warm water (no more than 115°F)
3½ cups bread flour
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided plus more for the pan
1 egg, beaten

for the topping-
olive oil
2 cups grapes, halved
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves removed from stem
kosher salt
2 balls of burrata
saba, for drizzling (or you can substitute with balsamic vinegar reduction)

Dissolve 1 packet of yeast, and 1 teaspoon of  sugar in 1 cup of warm water. Let the water and yeast mixture stand for 10 minutes, until bubbly and frothy. Add 3½ cups of bread flour to a large bowl. To the flour add 2 tablespoons sugar,1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh rosemary. Combine everything together. 

Make a well in the flour. Into the well add 1 beaten egg, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and the yeast mixture. Combine the dough together with your hands until everything is incorporated. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 5-6 minutes, or until the dough is smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a bowl, place the dough into the bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let the dough rise for 30-60 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, prepare the pan-roasted grapes.

To a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat, add a generous drizzle of olive oil. To the oil add the halved grapes, smashed garlic, fresh rosemary, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook the grapes, stirring occasionally as they cook, until they are browned and softened, about 10 minutes.

Once the dough has risen and doubled in size, punch down the dough a few times. Divide the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out each half of dough into a thin circle, about ¼-inch thick.

On medium heat, heat the same cast-iron pan. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the bottom of the pan. Once the pan is hot, place the rolled-out dough into the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until both sides are golden brown.

Repeat the process with the second half of the dough.

When both flatbreads are browned, top them with the pan-roasted grapes, fresh burrata, and a drizzle of saba. Slice and serve!