Roasting grapes and combining them with syrupy balsamic vinegar makes them incredibly versatile. For instance, I recently used these balsamic grapes to top an arugula salad and pan seared chicken, which was further enhanced by the addition of crumbled blue cheese. Speaking of cheese, they would make an excellent addition to a charcuterie board or a burrata plate.
It's also perfectly acceptable to use them as a topping for sweet desserts, like simple vanilla ice cream, cheesecake, or pound cake. Maybe you'll elevate your Sunday mornings by serving them over waffles or french toast.
Roasting the Grapes
Roasting grapes intensifies their natural sweet and tart flavors. Roasting them at a high temperature, 450F, causes them to burst in the oven and ooze delicious sugary drippings that caramelize slightly against the bottom of the pan, making them ever more delicious.
When roasting foods such as fruits and vegetables, it's common to add high-moisture flavors like citrus or vinegar after roasting, not before. There are a couple reasons for this, one of which being that moisture will prevent the food from developing the delicious caramelization roasting hopes to achieve.
Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
This recipe calls for a balsamic vinegar reduction because of its thickness, condensed sweetness, and minimal acidity. The syrupy baslamic reduction clings to the grapes rather than simply running over them, and the flavor isn't as acidic as unreduced balsamic vinegar. The grapes get all the acidity they need from a small finishing squeeze of lemon.
Balsamic Roasted Grapes
Author: Gianna Nebbia
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 10 MinTotal time: 15 Min
This recipe provides a very quick way to intensify the sweetness of grapes and balsamic vinegar, making them the perfect addition to both sweet and savory foods.
2 cups red seedless grapes, washed and dried well
4 mint leaves, torn in half
The zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
The juice of 1 lemon wedge (1/8th of a lemon)
Heat oven to 450F
Place grapes on a baking sheet, season them with lemon zest, mint leaves, and a big pinch of salt. Drizzle enough olive oil to lightly coat grapes and toss to combine. Arrange grapes so that they are spread out all over the pan. Roast for 10 minutes. (see note 1)
While the grapes roast, make the balsamic vinegar reduction. Place balsamic vinegar in a small pot over medium heat and cook for several minutes, stirring often, until balsamic vinegar has significantly reduced. It should resemble the thickness of agave, not honey. (see note 2)
When the grapes are finished roasting, toss them with the balsamic reduction and a squeeze of lemon. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy immediately, or allow them to cool before coving and refrigerating for later use.
Note 1: If the grapes are too close to one another on the baking sheet, they will steam instead of browning, so make sure to spread them out.
Note 2: No need to measure, but the balsamic reduction will only amount to 2-3Tb. That's OK! We only need a little bit due to its richness.