I read books. As long as you count Fifty Shades of Grey.
But my preference for literature lies strongly in culinary novels. Of every kind. Cookbooks, blogs, and most definitely magazines. And yesterday, I splurged. I bought four food glossies and spent an afternoon poring over every word. Every recipe. Every picture.
And then I found this: Baked grapes.
I thought my pickled cherries were a snazzy party trick. But man, Sunset magazine really raised the bar for olive substitutions. And when you pull these out at your next cocktail night or brunch with friends, you too will set a new standard for classy party eats.
Now here’s the nitty gritty: Simply rub the grapes in oil. The original recipe calls for olive oil, but that felt a little inconsiderate to olives since they getting majorly shown up by these baked grapes. So I used grape seed oil instead. And I felt really good about it.
Then, it’s time to replace the salt with some spices. Of course, you can always stick to sweet flavors and use cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and even cardamom. But go for savory and sprinkle the grapes with a little all spice, freshly ground black pepper, and some red pepper chili flakes.
Mix and pour onto a baking sheet.
The, with a quick trip to the oven, theses fruits get juicy, oozy, and impossible to stop nibbling. They look amazing — shriveling down to mimic a mix of artisanal olives — and they taste even more extraordinary. So good, that I wished I had people coming over for dinner.
And if you’re lucky enough to have guests (lucky!), you can serve the baked grapes on a platter with some toasted no-salt added bread for spreading.
Or … stick with me for a moment … mix them with pasta, thinly sliced chili pepper, and some fresh parsley.
Yes! True story, this was delicious. And I may be biased, but how pretty does that look? It’s a fresh, salt-free take on a simple dish that is sure to impress anyone.
Keep it vegetarian. Add chicken. And definitely save some for lunch the next day.
So, Sunset, thank you for a wonderful reminder that you can teach old ingredients new tricks.
And olives, move over. There’s a new nibble in town.
SALT-FREE BAKED GRAPES (a.k.a Salt-Free Olive Alternative)
adapted from Sunset Magazine Roasted Grapes with Oozy Cheese
- 1 cup red seedless grapes
- 1 cup green seedless grapes
- 2 tbsp grape seed oil
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- optional: freshly torn parsley and thinly sliced bird pepper/cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 425 dgF.
In a medium bowl, toss the grapes with the oil and spices. Spread them on a baking sheet and place into the oven to cook for 10 minutes.
Then, carefully remove the baking sheet and shimmy it with your hand or use a spatula to move the grapes around. Place the baking sheet back into an oven and cook for 8 more minutes.
Remove the grapes and pour them onto a platter. Serve with toasted no-salt added bread, over pasta, or refrigerate and use them any way you want the next day.
+ Sodium Count: Parsnip: 13mg per cup