Here’s a little something that’ll change your life: Roasted grapes.
If it doesn’t change your life, it will at the least change your cheese plates. After a half-hour or so in the oven, grapes become an entirely new, delightful, fancy thing … somewhere between grapes and wine.
I’d never thought to roast grapes until I was working on a story about brunch for After40, a women’s magazine in Indianapolis. The chef at the center of the story, Deidra Henry of Taste in Indianapolis, told me that they’d blow my mind. (If you flip through the lastest issue online, you’ll see the story starting on page 20.)
I tested them on some girlfriends one night recently, and Deidra was right: Roasted grapes were a surprise hit. Intriguing, with amazing flavor that makes you go back for more.
And, like roasting vegetables, they couldn’t be easier to make.
Drizzle grapes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 350° for at least 25 minutes, until grapes are soft and shrivel-y. Remove from oven and drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar, if you have it, or regular balsamic vinegar. Serve with soft cheese and crackers. Et voila.
Want to know more? Here’s my overly-detailed companion guide:
With scissors, snip a grape bunch into individual-size portions. I love the presentation of a full bunch, but breaking it up is easier on guests. Roasted grapes are soft and slick, so they’re not as easy to pluck off the stem as fresh grapes.
Place the grapes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roll the bunches around a bit — gentle, now! — to coat the grapes evenly.
Roast in a 350° oven for at least 25 minutes, until the grapes are soft and a bit shrivel-y. I let mine go for 35 minutes. I like veggies super roasted, so I figured I’d want grapes the same way. Some ended up overdone, though.
Remove the pan from the oven and splash the grapes with balsamic vinegar — go light on the vinegar, because the grapes will already be pretty juicy from breaking down in the oven. Even better — drizzle reduced balsamic vinegar on the grapes.
Transfer to a serving dish, alongside some soft cheese and crackers.