Monday, October 1, 2012

Roasted Red Grape Croutons

Mark harvest time with roasted red grapes. 

We use roasted grapes to make big dramatic croutons to serve with salad.  Originally a very swank hors d’ouevre, they are equally fun on a salad and actually stand out best against a field of simple greens.

Rolled in olive oil and topped with some freshly cracked black pepper, the ripe fruit flavor pops after 15 minutes in a 450˚F oven.  Let the grapes cool for a few minutes than light mash with the back of a fork, leaving several whole. The resulting jammy grape spread has a subtle peppery finish and is good warm or cold on top a thin slices of multi-grain baguette covered with smooth goat cheese.  Cream cheese is a tasty compliment too.  Three croutons per person is nice on a salad of greens with a simple vinaigrette.  Garnish with few sliced roasted almonds.

Grapes can also be roasted alongside chicken parts. Cook skin-on, bone-in chicken parts at 375˚F for about 45 minutes. During the last 20 minutes toss rinsed grapes in with roasting chicken parts and some fresh thyme or rosemary.  Use about a 1/2 cup grapes per serving.  When the chicken is done pull it out of the roasting pan and set it aside to rest.  Gently scoop out the grapes and herbs and put them in a small serving bowl.  Lightly mash with the back of a fork.  Serve as a warm compote beside your chicken.  Are you thinking turkey and pork?  Yep, that works.   And really good smeared on a turkey sandwich in place of mayonnaise.