I picked up the idea of roasting grapes from the January issue of Jamie Oliver’s magazine and although I was initially a little skeptical – remembering the chicken and green grape casseroles of the 1990s which my brothers and I did not love – I decided to do the experiment.
But they were a revelation: roasting the grapes in a hot oven means they become juicy, perfumed and intensely, surprisingly grape-y; a familiar taste made exotic and contemporary and, dare I say it, quite chic, which is not a word I use very often.
They have a sort of Sicilian flavour profile, of Italian and of ‘other’, and that’s what makes them such a handy little addition to have up your sleeve – they make Italian meats and triangles of pecorino sing, but they’re also just as perfect with Middle Eastern salads or even plain old sausage rolls, as we had for lunch. They’d work really well for breakfast or dessert too, served either warm or cool, with thick Greek yoghurt and a little honey.
Red grapes, washed
A pinch of sea salt
Some extra virgin olive oil
Simply drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the grapes, sprinkle with sea salt if you’re serving them with a savoury dish, and roast for about 15 minutes, or until their colour changes and they start to release juice.
Serve either by themselves, warm or cool, or drizzle with balsamic vinegar and some cumin seed for a quick, punchy deconstructed relish.