What to Do with Grapes for the Holidays
I’m all for using unique, unfamiliar ingredients on my menus, but the thing that really gets me excited is re-thinking and finding new uses for typical, expected ingredients. Grapes are a perfect example of a totally familiar food that is a perfect canvass for elevated culinary interpretation (and good news, they are growing really well right now).
Need a little spike of freshness on your bruschetta or pizza? Try pickling grapes with champagne vinegar and scattering them at will. The pop of juice is familiar, but the zing of pickling liquid cuts through heavy cheeses and sauces. I also love baking grapes (especially Concord grapes) directly into fresh breads and cakes.
Try dotting fresh cornmeal cake with jet black grapes, or upping your bread service with rosemary, sea salt, and black grape focaccia. Could there be a better way to start a meal? Well, maybe if it’s served with some fresh grape and caramelized shallot conserve.
Of course, grapes are also gorgeous mixed in with chicken or tuna salad, frozen into ice cubes for visually-beautiful cocktails, and popped directly into your mouth!
Add these gorgeous spicy-tart grapes to an antipasto platter or cheese plate or stir them into chicken or mixed green salads. Guests will love the complex flavors. But the best part: prep time is 10 minutes and "pickling" happens in the fridge in just a few hours.
3 cups seedless green grapes (about 1 lb.)
3 cups seedless red grapes (about 1 lb.)
6 (4-inch-long) fresh rosemary sprigs, divided
2 cups white wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Pack grapes into a large jar with a lid. Add rosemary. Bring vinegar, next 4 ingredients, 1 cup water, and remaining 2 rosemary sprigs to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat, and discard rosemary sprigs. Pour hot vinegar mixture over grapes. Cover loosely, and let cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes). Seal and chill 1 hour before serving. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.
About the Chef
Stephanie Goldfarb is a Chicago-based chef and national food television personality specializing in seasonal, globally-inspired cuisine. Recognized as the winner of Food Network’s America’s Best Cook competition, and a celebrity chef on Kitchen Inferno and NBC’s Food Fighters, Goldfarb delivers unique and relatable culinary experiences to discriminating and casual diners alike. As the owner of the successful Seven Species Supper Club & Catering, she enjoys the challenge of building brand new menus each month that inspire both repeat clients and newcomers, and seeks opportunities to utilize new ingredients, techniques, and approaches in accessible ways.