Most of our favorite vegetables are not vegetables at all. Cucumbers, okra, eggplant, peppers, sweet corn, PEAS!!, and, of course, tomatoes are all fricking fruits. It’s beautiful fucking witchcraft and opens up some interesting culinary ideas when we stop the automatic thinking that fruits are for dessert and veggies are savory. When you blur those lines, and those flavors, you can come up with some interesting dishes— like Grape Pizza.
Think about it.
Tomatoes are small, sweet, fleshy fruits. So are grapes.
Grapes are super juicy, taste great with cheese, and have an acidic punch. Same with tomatoes.
They’re not quite botanical twins but they’re pretty damn close. With the extra savory backbone of bacon and shallots, grapes are the perfect sweet note in a complex, crunchy pizza.
Now, a few notes—
Making pizza dough isn’t even a little hard— but it is messy, and it’s a process that requires a small time investment. Even though it is extra delicious, sometimes we just don’t feel like fucking with it and there is absolutely no shame in that. These days there is plenty of great pre-made doughs available commercially. Trader Joe’s in particular has some righteous crusts, and we especially dig their whole wheat variety.
While we totally encourage a short cut, we sadly cannot recommend using a pre-cooked pizza crust for this particular recipe. It won’t taste right. Save your Boboli for when you’re too high to do anything but cover it in BBQ and cheddar but forget to bake it and eat it anyway (not that we know anything about that)
Grape Pizza with Gruyere, Bacon, and Shallots
Crust (adapted from a whole bunch of other pizza crust recipes)
- 2 tsp (or 1 package) active dry yeast
- 1 tsp honey
- 3/4 cup water that’s warm but not hot; like the temperature of a cup of coffee that’s hit that perfect chuggable sweet spot of warm.
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus about a half of a cup set aside and some for dusting your work surface; about 2 cups total.
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing the rolled out crust
- 1 bag of store bought pizza dough
In a small bowl or large glass measuring cup, mix together the yeast, honey, and 3/4 cup of warm water. Let this mixture hang out for a little bit while the yeast activates, starts eating the sugars, and develops a thin but rich, creamy foam on top that looks like the head of a good dark beer.
In a large bowl, combine the salt and 1 1/4 cups flour. Add the yeast-water mixture, and olive oil. Stir with your hands. At this point the dough will be an exceptionally wet and sticky mess. Keep stirring until the dough pulls away from the walls of the bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a well floured counter top and knead until goes from ropy and weird to smooth and stretchy; about 5 minutes. You’ll know you’re done kneading when the dough’s surface is more or less dry to the touch and it looks mostly like a ball. Set the kneaded dough aside in a covered bowl until it has doubled in size— about an hour.
Once the dough has risen, and your toppings have been prepared, flop it onto your well floured counter once again and shape it into the size and thickness that you want your pizza to be. We don’t love using rolling pins because it tends to make a very thin, dense, brittle crust. Starting in the center of the dough, gently press and stretch everything until it looks like a pizza. Transfer to a pizza stone or parchment lined cookie sheet, and top.
- 1-1 1/2 cups of seedless grapes- we like red the best
- 1/4 cup of dry vermouth or your favorite dry wine- red or white, doesn’t matter.
- 1 1/2 cups of shredded Gruyere cheese— Fontina also works great
- 3 slices of bacon cut into thick lardons
- 1/2 shallot, finely minced
- Black Pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil for brushing on the crust
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Grapes are pretty much the dirtiest thing on the planet, and this is doubly true if you got yours from the grocery store. Pluck them from the stem, wash them thoroughly, and dry them well. We like to soak our grapes for a few minutes in water that has a few tablespoons of white vinegar, rinse with tap water, and stick them in a salad spinner for a sec. It’s worth the extra effort. Once cleaned, slice them in half with your sharpest paring knife or whatever small serrated knife you use on tomatoes.
Add your bacon to a skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook until crispy and dark brown. Reserve at 1 tbsp bacon fat and use that to sautee the shallots until soft, translucent, and just starting to brown.
Turn the heat up to high. When the skillet is hot (droplets of water should disperse immediately) add the vermouth or wine. Cook until the wine is reduced by half and add the grapes. Continue cooking until the grapes are just hardly separating from their skin and softening slightly, but still holding their shape. It should take about a minute and a half. Season with salt and pepper, let the grapes and booze cool slightly— this is an ideal time to start rolling out your crust and brush it all with olive oil.
Once cooled, mix your cheese and reserved bacon with the grape mixture to avoid a soggy crust and ensure the best grapes-to-cheese-to-crust ratio. Spread that business onto your rolled-out crust and bake until it looks like a pizza; anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Top with a few cracks of fresh black pepper. If you wanted to get fancy you could rub the baked crust with garlic cloves, or sprinkle on some freshly chopped bitter herbs.