Back when I lived in Florence, I would hit up my local focaccia bakery, Forno Ballerini, on the regular. Though Tuscan bread gets a bad rap for being too boring and bland, Forno Ballerini proved that wasn’t always the case. It’s hard to say what was my favorite because they’d switch it up a lot, but my favorite time of year?
Simple – it was during the Fall when the last of the grape harvest grapes would be used to make schiacciata all’uva or a double down grape focaccia. Schiaccita all'uva is one of those examples of simplicity at its best – just focaccia with a bunch of olive oil and wine grapes – but without a doubt the Forno Ballerini made my favorite version of all.
Though I love the original just as is, I've made tweaks over the years since I first tried it. This is my cocktail party equivalent schiacciata made with caramelized onions and blue cheese for bite-sized bold flavor so you can cheers and chow without a prob.
plus more for brushing the dough
halved then thinly sliced into half moons
halved (can substitute Concord grapes or blueberries)
Heat oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Cut dough into 12 pieces and, on a lightly floured surface, shape each into a 2 1/2 to 3-inch round. Brush with olive oil then cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place to rise, at least 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and grinding of fresh pepper. Stir to coat onions then cook, stirring rarely, over medium-low heat until onions are golden brown and soft, about 20 minutes. Stir in thyme then continue to cook until onions are deep brown. Stir in grapes and coat with onion mixture then remove from heat.
The onion mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead. Store refrigerated until ready to use.
Arrange 12 dough rounds on an oiled rimmed baking sheet then press the dough all over to create dimples. Top each round with a spoonful of the grape mixture then divide blue cheese among all 12 rounds. Bake until golden brown and cheese is melted, about 10 to 12 minutes and serve topped with sea salt.
The focaccia can be made up to 8 hours ahead of time. Warm in a low oven (about 250°F) before serving.
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