15 September 2013

Celebrate the Harvest with Slow Roasted Grapes

Slow Roasted Grapes
There's something special about a roasted grape. When roasted, its internal sugars caramelize, that thick skin softens and wrinkles, and the flavour matures into a much more intense version of its former self. And the juices that amass during roasting thicken on the baking sheet, yielding a nearly jam-like result when mixed with the roasted grapes. In short, it's a perfect thing to do for cheese platters.

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
On a recent trip to the farmers market I was excited to find that Coronation grapes had returned to the market. The fall grape harvest is in the air and the wonderfully aromatic violet-blue Coronation grapes are market ready both here in the Okanagan Valley as well as in the Niagara region of Ontario where we bought some for our morning yogurt last weekend when I was there.

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?"

**Roasted Black Grapes**
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.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. The recipe I have is similar. I am looking forward to getting some local grapes while we're in the finger lakes for Thanksgiving and making a delicious first course with them.

  2. They are my number 1 favorite grapes..with champagne grapes ..I shall try roasting them too now:-)
    I love roasted grapes.
    Thank you.

  3. I love roasted fruit but I've never tried grapes before, Val! You have inspired me. :-) They aren't in season at the moment, but I have a lovely grape vine that is flourishing and I hope it produces heaps of grapes this fall. :-)

  4. Seriously brilliant idea. I will definitely steal.

  5. What a great way of celebrating this wonderful time of the year! Those slow roasted grapes must taste divine. A perfect accompaniment to cheese.



  6. I've always wondered about roasting grapes. I bake them in my apple pies and that's fun. Grapes are so versatile; thanks for one more way to enjoy them (with some wine of course).

  7. I admit I have never tried roasting grapes but it sounds like a preparation I have to try. I'll be on the lookout for your Coronation grapes or something similar. This is one very creative appetizer, Val, especially with your homemade shortbread.

  8. This also looks like a great way to use up grapes that are on their way out!

  9. Right, why didn't I think of that? A delicious match with any cheese, indeed!

  10. This sounds so decadent!The large black grapes are my favorite and I can only imagine how delicious they are roasted. Fabulous idea!

  11. If I could only find grapes like that!
    And then you say "pair with blue cheese".
    Oh Val, you kill me....

  12. I roasted grapes for the first time last week and they were fabulous! Made me wonder why I don't do it more often!

  13. Ya de vuelta tras unas pequeñas vacaciones, con un atraso por un pié que me retuvo unos días en reposo... más de lo que yo esperaba, vuelvo con mis pequeñas cosas y hoy pidiéndote un favor.
    ¿te importaría colocar en un lateral de tu blog, el logo que he puesto en mi blog, sobre el nuevo curso de COCINERO PROFESIONAL que se inicia en octubre?
    Al final, para agradecer esa ayuda en publicidad, sortearé dos cajas de vino bueno,una de blanco Albariño y otra de tinto,(Rioja o Ribera de Duero).
    Se que si puedes me echarás una mano y por ello, te lo agradezco de antemano.
    Sea como sea, no te veas en la obligación de ponerlo si no lo consideras conveniente.
    En caso contrario,¿lo podrías dejar hasta el 14 de octubre?

    Un millón de gracias!

  14. That looks like the perfect bite!

  15. What? Was there a party I was unaware of or was it a party for one? Roasted grapes are special. I make a grape jam that my mother used to make growing up. Some old recipe for a romanian neighbour. There is more to grapes that meets the eye.

  16. Oh yes I have done this before but I like your version Val with the vinegar...i have some grapes left over from my challenge and I am putting them in the oven now....love it!

  17. i love grapes but always eat them cold and plain as a snack. i like the possibilities this idea opens up!

  18. I wish I could find grapes at our farmers' markets. I'll have to get mine at the grocery store, but roasting them sounds lovely!

  19. I love roasted grapes and your nice black ones must have been wonderful.

  20. I must try this recipe! Thanks Val. I love the photo of the hand holding the grapes.

  21. Val, found it. What a great idea to use this as an appie. I have roasted them with brussel sprouts which was also wonderful. I am going to make it this week but I son't think I can get the coronation grapes. I have roasted the seedless red to great results.


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