Have you ever found yourself with some leftover grapes?
Grapes are lovely, and I do enjoy them, especially chilled on a hot-ish day, or after an especially rich dinner. They are also excellent each meticulously sliced in half and piled on top of good Greek yogurt with just a drizzle of honey. They are perfect to tuck into little lunch-boxes (for which I still meticulously slice each in half to avoid choking – don’t judge).
But sometimes I buy too big a bunch, and other fruits jockey for my attentions (hello mangoes), that I find a sulking half-finished batch of grapes sitting forlornly in my fridge.
What to do?
When I have fruits that need using up, I usually make a small batch of refrigerator jam, syrup, or compote***. Just throw what you have left, roughly chopped (or not), in a small pot with some sugar and stew until jammy. I thought to do the same with my grapes until I discovered that most grape jam recipes call for you to peel the grapes. Peel the grapes? Ok, if that’s the way it must be done then so be it. But I have a baby, a toddler, a job, and a household to run, and perhaps a more organized woman could manage it, but I am not that together. So unfortunately, those grapes were not getting peeled.
And then I saw this. And I knew there was a divine reason that I was too lazy to peel those grapes.
The recipe below is not much of a recipe at all. More like a prescription of what to do if you, like me, find yourself with some straggling grapes that need using up. Or if you are having any incarnation of roast or pan-fried pork – in which case go out and buy some grapes because this goes stupendously with pork.
Balsamic Roasted Grapes
(adapted from Alexandra's Kitchen)
- Whatever grapes you have on hand, or go out and buy a bunch…it'll be worth it.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Place the grapes in a roasting pan or sheet pan where they can all fit in one layer.
- Drizzle with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast in a pre-heated 400F oven for 15-30 minutes, depending on how soft you’d like them, tossing them around once or twice during the cooking time. I like them as you see them here, slightly collapsed with their skins wrinkled and just burst in parts.
I can’t tell you how much I love this or how much I now want to make it again. It’s the sort of thing you find excuses to make because it’s that good, and also, that easy. You can have it in more ways than I can think of at the moment. The first to my mind though was with cheese, and indeed it is a match made in heaven. I’ve piled it here on some French sourdough toasts with crumbled chunks of kesong puti (our local fresh white cheese) that had been marinated in herbs and oil. This was amazing already on its own, and enough reason to roast some grapes, but I am sure this would also get on famously with your next cheese platter. Like I mentioned, this also makes an excellent condiment for pork in general, whether with roast pork, a side for fried pork chops, or stuffed into your next ham sandwich.
Next time, I’m going to try for a sweet version – roasting it with some sugar instead of salt. I imagine this would be wonderful scooped generously on pancakes or to give store-bought pound cake a delicious and sophisticated edge.
So, just wanted to share this with you because some things are just too good to keep to one’s self, and because it’s the weekend, and because I love all of you that keep coming back!
***Unless it’s bananas, which I remove from their skins and store in the freezer for future banana breads.