Monday, 9 January 2017

Grapes Roasted with Herbs and a dash of Olive Oil


We have probably all been seduced into buying plastic containers filled with pinky red bunches of grapes over the holiday period and I'm sure I'm not the only one, to have found one or two bunches to not be the 'sweet, flavour packed juice bombs' we were expecting - and if your family is anything like ours, these flavourless or slightly bitter bunches will then languish in the fruit bowl or fridge, until they start to wrinkle and head rapidly towards the 'raisin stage' before they find their way to the nearest compost bin!

However, do not despair I have stumbled on the solution - you just pop them in the oven, with a sprinkling of fresh or dried herbs and - wow - the difference it makes is amazing. So much so that I will now be buying bunches of grapes just to roast. When eaten hot straight out of the oven, they will burn your mouth (and fingers getting them there!) but oh the flavour was so sublime I couldn't help but pop in the odd one or two whilst lifting them out of the tray. Allowed to cool they are still sweet and juicy, perfect served with so many different dishes either sweet or savory - especially cheese, on salads or as an accompaniment to grilled lamb chops.

Recipe - They are very simple to prepare.

A couple of bunches of red grapes - seedless if possible - I haven't tried green or yellow grapes yet.
A few sprigs of fresh or dried thyme - or 1 heaped teaspoon dried thyme/herb de provence
Olive oil

Pre-heat your oven to 220C/Gas 7

Lay the bunches of grapes on the roasting tray, drizzle over some olive oil and sprinkle over the thyme - in the picture above I used a teaspoon of herb de provence just to ring the changes and the grape variety was scarlotta grown in Italy.

If the grapes are particularly sour and you feel they might be in need added sweetness you can sprinkle over a couple of teaspoons of caster sugar before baking if you wish.

Now place in the oven for 8-10 minutes until the grapes are just starting to catch and burst their skins. Keep an eye on them so you don't dry them out too much and turn the bunches during cooking if need be.

Once they are cooked you can leave them on the tray to cool - the sticky juices might make them stick to the pan though so it's a good idea to lift them onto another dry tray. Save the juices left in the pan and mix with a little balsamic vinegar and maybe a little more olive oil to make a dressing.

You can use them whilst they are hot served with pan fried mackerel, lamb or pork chops. Cooled they are perfect served with a cheeseboard, chopped in half and added to a green salad with brie, or placed over the cream on the top of a fresh fig trifle! Any game meat they would work well with - I'm still finding dishes to add them to!

The first thing I did, whilst they were still hot from the oven, was to squish them onto chunks of french bread spread with goats cheese - a truly amazing flavour.

Hope you all have a great start to your week
Love Lizx