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Roasted Grapes and Balsamic Reduction with Cheese and Crackers

Posted Jun 05 2012 12:12pm

Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach when I go to the grocery store.

I end up with two pints of strawberries, fresh blueberries, a couple peaches, and let’s not forget the half dozen 19-cents-each Trader Joe’s bananas I couldn’t leave without grabbing and oh yes, the grapes that were on sale with my grocery store club card. Holy fruit.

To prevent fruit from going to waste, I’ll toss just about anything into the freezer. Peach slices, halved strawberries, banana chunks, you name it. Frozen fruit makes for great strawberry-banana bread fruit or muffin fruit and it can always be used in smoothie-making . But rather than freezing the grapes (and I love frozen grapes so much as a snack), I decided to roast them.

Roasted strawberries and peaches and blueberries are fabulous. Think strawberry pie, peach cobbler, and blueberry crumbles. And now grapes got in on the roasted action, but in a savory way.

I almost tried my hand at making a Grape Cobbler but was up to my eyeballs in ideas and projects and maybe-this-will-work type plans and didn’t want to bite off more grape than I could chew.

So I roasted them and allowed these little babies to burst and wilt, and while they were transforming and shriveling, I made a balsamic reduction.

I paired my purple friends with cheese and crackers.

And a flood of balsamic. I love balsamic reduction . I could drink the stuff.

It’s especially delicious as it rolls off the wilted backs of the grapes and into the cracker crevices.

Instant fancy-looking-but- easy-to-make party appetizer. Serve it with Coconut Water Champagne Punch or Peach Mango Pineapple White Sangria

These are a great little snack when you want to get a little classier than Tricuits smeared with peanut butter, complete with knife-licking to get the last bits of peanut butter off the knife. Not that I would know about that.

Crunchy, smooth, salty, sweet. A smorgasbord of textures and flavors; just the way I like things. Simple but so good.

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Roasted Grapes and Balsamic Reduction with Cheese and Crackers

small block of cheese, sliced (I used 1000 day aged gouda )

crackers or bread

1 cup grapes

1 teaspoon olive oil (coconut oil, grapeseed, or canola can be substituted) *

Preheat oven to 425F . Place grapes on a Silpat-lined (or parchment or foil-lined) baking sheet, drizzle grapes with olive oil, and bake at 425F for 20 minutes, or until grapes have begun to wilt and some have burst. While the grapes are roasting, make the reduction.

*Go light-handed on the oil because it doesn’t really absorb much and it will coat the grapes and just stay there, making them seem a little greasy if you use too much.

 

Balsamic Reduction

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

Combine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan, stir until sugar dissolves, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, allowing mixture to boil rapidly for about 4-5 minutes, stirring nearly continuously. Shut off the heat and immediately pour the mixture into a heat-safe food storage container and allow it to cool in that container. Tip: If you let the mixture cool in most sauce pans or pots, it will harden and become insanely sticky, needing major elbow grease to clean the pan. Don’t allow mixture to cool in the pot; pour it into another container immediately.

You will likely have extra reduction; it will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for weeks. Use it over salads, when roasting vegetables, or as a dip for just about anything from bread to chips to tofu.

Place cheese on top of crackers, top with grapes and their cooking juices, drizzle with the balsamic reduction.

Related recipes:

  Mango Balsamic Rice, Beans, & Mixed Vegetables – love balsamic (and mango) in anything

Mixed Berry Clafoutis – Easy way to use extra fruit. Like a baked custard but far easier. Make the batter in a blender.

Use extra (fresh or frozen) fruit in Blueberry Muffins (vegan, GF)

Strawberry Banana Bread – Can’t go wrong with tossing extra fruit into bread

Have you ever roasted grapes or other fruit?

I’ve roasted strawberries and grilled peaches before and I’ve baked with blueberries, strawberries, peaches, and bananas, but roasting grapes was a first for me and I have no idea what I was waiting for.

The flavor of the grapes intensified, they got sweeter, and the texture was similar to that of roasted tomato halves, which I have always loved.

Do you have a favorite way to use extra fruit if your eyes and shopping cart are bigger than your stomach?

Recipe links welcome

 Winner of the Gourmet Cheese Sampler Pack Giveaway is Erin Motz

 

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