This tomato, grape, and ricotta flatbread recipe is from the cookbook, Plum Gorgeous: Recipes and Memories from the Orchard, by Romney Steele.
Author Romney Steele writes:
Sweet, juicy grapes meld beautifully with cherry tomatoes and fresh ricotta cheese in this rustic flatbread, my ode to California’s Indian summer when both fruits are at their glorious peak. Smaller, more intensely flavored wine grapes, like Cabernet Franc (the dark purple grapes shown), are particularly sweet and intensely delicious and offer a rich study in contrasts against the medley of yellow, orange, and red tomatoes and greens. Use good-quality, stone-ground bread flour for the best results. If you have a pizza stone, by all means use it to bake this bread.
Cooks&Books&Recipes Featured Cook Sheri:
The recipe headnote suggests using wine grapes, which aren’t always easy to find, even here in the SF Bay Area. But we’ve been snacking on Thomcord grapes from the market and they’re even being stocked at Trader Joe’s, so that’s what I used. Thomcord are small purple grapes that have the insistent grape jam flavor of a Concord grape but without the seeds and gelatinous center.
The flatbread dough is yeast-based and easy to work with. It’s started with a poolish (fermentation starter) that needs to rise at least two hours, but it can easily be left to rise overnight to accommodate scheduling. The second rise takes only an hour.
I divided my dough in half and cooked one flatbread exactly to the recipe specifications: topped with ricotta, cherry tomatoes, grapes, rosemary, and arugula and then baked in the oven. I intended to use a local sheep’s milk ricotta but couldn’t find it–any any good fresh ricotta will work.
The second flatbread went onto a gas grill heated to medium-high (direct heat, lid closed), first without any toppings but coated with plenty of olive oil. Once one side of the flatbread was cooked and developed nice golden grill marks (about 10 minutes), I moved it to a sheet pan, flipped it to grilled-side up, and added the toppings, then placed it back on the grill again at medium heat (indirect heat, lid closed). The second spin on the grill took about another 10 minutes–we pulled it off when the bread looked cooked and the arugula had wilted.
Both versions of the flatbread turned out fantastic, although we liked the grilled one a bit more. The recipe is terrific as-is, but is also a good starting point for variations. My only suggestion would be to limit yourself to just a few ingredients so the flavors don’t become overwhelming. And it’s surprisingly good left-over, warmed in the oven for a few minutes.
Ready to make this delicious ricotta flatbread recipe?
Tomato, Grape, and Ricotta Flatbread
Featured Recipe From: Plum Gorgeous: Recipes and Memories from the Orchard
Yield: Makes 2 or 3 flatbreads
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup tepid water, plus more as needed
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pound ricotta cheese (about 1 cup)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 pound wine grapes, rinsed, halved, and seeded
- Leaves from 2 to 3 sprigs rosemary, coarsely chopped
- Coarse sea salt
- Handful arugula, plus a few leaves for garnish
To make the dough, sprinkle the yeast over the water in a medium bowl and stir in 1 cup of the flour. Set aside in a warm place for 2 hours, or up to overnight. You are essentially creating a sponge or poolish this slow rise ultimately results in a more complexly flavored dough.
Combine the remaining 2 cups of flour with the salt and stir into the yeast mixture, along with the olive oil, until well combined. Add up to 1/4 cup more water, if needed, to achieve a dough that comes together easily. Transfer to a lightly floured board and knead for 5 minutes, until the dough feels elastic and smooth. Gather into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment and sprinkle with cornmeal or flour.
Gently punch down the dough. Divide it into 2 or 3 balls. Take one and roll out into a loose rectangle shape about 1â„4 inch thick. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet. Dot the dough using your fingers, making small wells in it. Brush the surface liberally with extra virgin olive oil. Spread one-half or one-third of the ricotta on the surface and scatter with tomatoes and grapes. Sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt to taste, and a few leaves of arugula. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake until the crust is golden and the topping nicely charred, about 25 minutes. Top with more fresh arugula leaves.
© 2011 Romney Steele
Reprinted with permission from Plum Gorgeous: Recipes and Memories from the Orchard, by Romney Steele (Andrews McMeel Publishing)