By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Table Grape Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
I eat tons of fruit! I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one ;). Paired with a good source of protein such as cheese, yogurt, etc, and they make for a perfect snack any time of the day. It's really really difficult for me to rank the fruits based on favorability, but I can assure you grapes are wayyy up there. An added bonus is that they can be enjoyed past the summer months through winter.
Grapes of all colors are a great source of beneficial antioxidants and polyphenols (e.g. resveratrol). One serving of grapes (¾ cup) contains just 90 calories, no fat, no cholesterol and virtually no sodium. They provide potassium and are a good source of vitamin K. Also, they are considered a functional food because they provide health benefits beyond the provision of essential nutrients when an adequate amount is consumed as part of the diet on a daily basis.
My research paper for the Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals course that I took back in April was on grapes/wine and resveratrol (after this assignment, I have a whole new appreciation for grapes), and you would not believe the immensity of existing and ongoing research studies focusing on possible uses in the prevention and treatment of various chronic diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer's).
While simply popping them in your mouth is perfectly delicious, taking it a step further and roasting them with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh rosemary will take you to a whole new place! The fragrant aroma tickling your nose and seeing the skins wrinkle up as they reach the verge of bursting make for a sensual experience. My husband who has yet to open up to rosemary was amazed at how wonderful it tastes paired with grapes. Perhaps I can sneak in the woody herb into other dishes as well ;).
Just as a friendly warning, it will be extremely difficult to stop your fingers from picking these grapes up as soon as they come out of the oven. And if you really feel helpless, then don't fight the urge...use that extra energy instead to simply roast another batch. Nothing to it! 😉
As for these crostini, I like to prepare the bread and goat cheese first before roasting the grapes as they taste even more exceptional topped with the juicy orbs straight from the oven. Roast the hazelnuts in a pan over medium-high heat. No need to add oil as there's plenty in the nuts. Once they turn golden-brown, remove from heat and place in a mini food processor to chop finely. Add honey and goat cheese and just like that, you have a wonderful spread!
Serve this at your next gathering and be prepared to be showered with oohs and ahhs. The stunning presentation and complexity of flavors are so contradictory to how simple they were to make. Don't you just love that? Hope you give this recipe a try!
Besides enjoying them as they are, how do you incorporate grapes into various dishes?
- 1 Ib red seedless grapes
- 1 Tbs olive oil + more for baguette slices
- 1 Tbs roughly chopped fresh rosemary
- salt and pepper
- 1 baguette sliced ⅓ in. thick
- ¼ cup hazelnuts toasted
- 4 oz goat cheese
- 1 Tbs honey
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange bread slices on a large baking sheet and brush tops with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through.
- Meanwhile, roast hazelnuts in a pan until golden brown. Add to mini food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add goat cheese and honey and pulse until blended. It will be a bit thick so additional mixing with a spatula in a bowl will be necessary.
- Once the bread is done, increase the oven temp to 400 F. Combine grapes, rosemary, oil, pinch of salt and pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet and gently toss together. Roast approx 15-20 minutes or until they're slightly wilted and bursting.
- Spread a generous layer of hazelnut goat cheese on top of bread. Top with roasted grapes and serve immediately.
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