Tasty Grapes Can Enhance Your Cooking

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Reliance is a popular seedless red grape.Click To Enlarge

'Reliance' is a popular seedless red grape.

Photo: Steven Wanke

by Edon Waycott
April 1998
from issue #14

With grapes, simple is better. Eat them right off the vine or toss a bunch into your lunch box. But that doesn’t mean they are culinary cameos. They can be character actors that give a dish juicy depth.

Grapes also add color and texture to salads of greens, melons and berries, cold chicken, or grains. For an earthy side dish, toss halved red grapes and toasted pine nuts into warm wild rice. (See my recipes for Watercress and Red Grape Salad, Chicken Salad with Grapes, and Green Grape Salsa.)

Try matching grapes with cheeses. The tartness of ‘Perlette’, a green seedless, lends sharpness to a mild baby Swiss or Jarlsberg. I especially like the complementary flavor and color you get pairing a complex Vermont cheddar, smooth and smoky Gouda, or mild blue cheese with ‘Red Flame’ or ‘Ruby’ grapes. Sweet seedless grapes provide a moist counterpoint to creamy, soft-ripened cheeses like Camembert or aged chevre.

But that's only after you've had your fill eating them out of hand.

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