Forget the sad apple slices browning on a cheese board: good cheese deserves better. Roasted grapes are a divine addition to a selection of Cheddars and Camemberts.
Roasted fruit is gorgeous
Roasting fruit does not impair its nutritional values – that is wonderful news.
Vitamins and minerals are mostly soluble in water, so boiling destroys them the more efficiently, the longer they are subjected to hot water.
Some vitamins are oil-soluble, so fine with the water treatment but they perish in frying. Though why would you fry fruit?
But roasting fruit lightly, either for a short period of time or in relatively low temperatures, does not damage its nutritional content much.
What it does instead is immensely improve the depth of flavour, especially if the fruit is not the ripest, the freshest or the choicest to start with. It makes it easier to digest, which is good for people with easily irritated stomachs - those fruit skins do not make them happy.
And roasting is also the way to salvage some fruit a little past its best from wasting. Which is always a good thing.
How to roast grapes
I prefer to roast them longer but at a lower temperature, so they ripen and deepen in flavour but don’t burst and spill the juice. You can roast them on the vine or off, but again – my preference is in a single layer picked off the vine as thus they will roast evenly and more gently.
A drop of olive oil is required merely to stop them sticking to the bottom of the dish. After an hour in a low oven they should be delicately wrinkled, perhaps a few split but all of them exuding a lovely aroma.
After the roasting, a little balsamic vinegar and a few flakes of salt will serve to sharpen and enhance the flavour.
How to serve roasted grapes
Cheese, cheese and more cheese, that is the dream company for those little fellas. Really the point of making them, uppermost, is to serve on a cheese board. It’s my favourite lunch: a few chunks of cheese and a bowl of warm, or at room temperature, juicy roasted grapes.
They are also a great addition to salads and a good condiment to serve with roast chicken or duck. And like other lightly cooked fruit, they will be gorgeous added to porridge or topped with crunchy oats, for breakfast.
And they will keep a good couple of days in the fridge, so you can roast more than just a single bunch that is going slightly off.
More grape recipes
Feta with grapes and walnuts is a fantastic salad, perfect for lunch or as a starter. It resembles Waldorf salad but is easier to make. Just roast the grapes with a little balsamic, crumble feta and walnuts, and it self-dresses with the grape juices.
This recipe answers two good questions: what to do with past-their-best grapes? and how to cook chicken breast in a different way? The answer is: chicken, grape and olive tray bake.
Grape and blue cheese focaccia flavoured with dried oregano. The savoury version of the Tuscan bread schiacciata con l’uva, easy flat bread with olive oil, fresh grapes and crumbled blue cheese; which might be swapped for goats cheese if preferred.
More roasted fruit recipes
The easiest sponge cake base. The simplest whipped cream filling, barely sweetened. The perfect lightly roasted blueberry flavouring, oozing purple juice. Need I say more?
Toasted oats, barley and rice flakes make very simple granola; add lightly cooked seasonal fruit compote for a healthy breakfast. A low sugar compote is also the way to use a glut of fruit and berries, and it’s made in 10 minutes.
Rhubarb is gorgeous when roasted! Folded into cream or Greek yoghurt, roasted rhubarb puree with a touch of vanilla and rose water makes rhubarb fool, a deservedly classic dessert.