|Slow Roasted Grapes|
The grapes come out of the oven with their juices just starting to ooze, anointing the roasting pan with a delicious syrup you will want to lap up. They deepen in colour, blister a little and become musky-sweet. The olive oil and salt and pepper perfectly balance the sweetness. And it couldn't be easier.
Perhaps it's because cheese is so often side-by-side with wine, but grapes always seem to be the most reliable fruit fare to throw on a cheese platter. Trouble is, a grape bunch isn't the most inspired of additions to a spread of cheese. Update your grape mojo with this elegant and seriously tasty recipe for roasted grapes. It'll take you less than 40 minutes start to finish, and the result is as equally satisfying as an accompaniment to cheese as on its own.
|Sovereign Coronation Grapes|
They might have a fancy sounding name, but Sovereign Coronation grapes are now the most commonly planted variety of seedless table grapes in southern Ontario and British Columbia. A descendant of the deep-blue Concord, they have their ancestor's characteristic sweet-and-sour taste that bursts in the mouth. Virtually seedless with a deep, vibrant purple colour, these are not your average table grapes!!
One of the things I most look forward to in September is finding these grapes at the market. Their season is short lived but it means that cooler weather and the Okanagan Wine Festival cannot be far off. They are delicious on their own but I look forward to roasting them to serve with any of the local cheeses. When I think of other sweet things so often paired with cheese such as honey, membrillo, fig jam, dried fruit, and chutney roasted grapes may very well blow each of these standby accoutrements out of the park. They are seriously that good!
Roasted grapes go especially well with fresh or lightly aged goat cheese. They would also be excellent atop some nice fresh ricotta. But truly, presented in a little dish with a spoon for serving, the grapes and its juices can top just about any cheese. Use a baguette or another bread as a vehicle for your cheese or as I have here some homemade blue cheese shortbread, and you will have happened upon a pretty impressive offering.
This recipe classifies as one of those, "Why didn't I think of that?"
recipe from Chef Suzanne Goin of Los Angeles' AOC
2 cups black seedless grapes, rinsed and dried (Coronation grapes would be perfect)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
juice of 1/2 a small lemon, or 2 tablespoons red or white wine
salt and fresh cracked pepper
fresh thyme leaves
Heat the oven to 250 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice or wine. Arrange the grapes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss with olive oil mixture. Roast, stirring once or twice for 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours, or until shrivelled and lightly caramelized.
You can refrigerate them, but bring them to room temperature before serving.
Transfer to a serving dish, making sure to get all the good sauce, and serve with cheese and plain crackers or crusty bread. Roasting grapes brings out their intense sweetness; an earthy, creamy cheese counterbalances it. The sweetness of roasted grapes is similar to that of figs or plums. Paired with salty blue cheese, roasted grapes make a unique and stunning appetizer.
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