Uva fragola translates to strawberry grape and is a black variety of grapes whose aroma is very reminiscent of strawberries. From it, in the Veneto region, vintners used to produce the fragolino wine, a (not particularly prized) refreshing Summer wine.
What is interesting – and also absolutely apocryphal – about uva fragola is that it originated in the States and imported in the 1800s when a parasite destroyed a large part of the Northern Italian vines. Whatever the case may be, uva fragola makes for excellent grape focaccia.
Called Schiacciata all’Uva in Tuscany, where this recipe comes from, it was a staple all over the region during grape harvest. Every Autumn it comes back to mind and I make it, with the sweetest grapes I can find: Concord grapes would be best but any sweet (and seedless) black grapes will do.
The original recipe calls for a layer grapes between two layers of dough, and more scattered on top but, as I usually serve it with cheese and salumi, I tend to make it less sweet and only put the grapes on top. Either way, eaten on its own or as part of a rustic meal, it is an absolute delight.
1 1/2 C Bread flour (200 g)
1 ts instant dried yeast
2 1/2/ T olive oil
1/2 ts salt1 pound seedless black grapes (cut in half if large)
1 T sugar
1 T thyme or rosemary (chopped)
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour and yeast, 1 T olive oil and the salt. Add 1/2 C of lukewarm water and mix until the dough comes together and is elastic, about 5 minutes. If it sticks to your bowl, add a little bit more flour – if it is too dry, add a little bit of oil (this step can be made by hand bymixing everything in a bowl and then transferring to a lightly floured board and kneading by hand).
- Form the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour.
- Heat the oven to 500F/260C. Using a rolling pin (or stretching with your hands) roll out the dough on a lightly oiled board to form a 11 x 15in/20×40 cm rectangle. Press the edges to make a slightly raised border.
- Oil a baking sheet and transfer the dough on top. Scatter the grapes all over the surface, sprinkle with the sugar and thyme or rosemary. Bake for about 15 minutes, until crisp and browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.