So, it’s like, warm outside this week. At least, mid 30s feels pretty darn warm at this point. I’m tempted to pull out the shorts!
Probably the main reason I don’t is that I’ve been so busy inside, cooking. I know, I know, I haven’t posted anything in a while, so it doesn’t seem like I’ve been cooking much. But I’m also graduating in a couple months, so cut me some slack.
In the meantime, let’s talk about roasted grapes. You know how addictive grapes can be once you sit down with a bag of them? Well imagine addiction doubled once you try their sweeter, warm and squishy cousin. Roasting fruit is something too many people never do. In the same way that roasting makes nearly any vegetable better, it can bring an awesome new level to fruits.
These flatbreads make a delicious and beautiful appetizer, and could easily be adapted into party hors d’oeuvres too. Granted, I’m using the term “flatbread” a little loosely here, but only to save us both time in preparation. These take less than 30 minutes!
This recipe is really simple, and doesn’t really use exact measurements. You can do it mostly by eye, and therefore can easily stretch it to your needs. This recipe will make 4 flatbreads.
You will need:
- 1 bunch of grapes
- Scant 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 Tbs maple syrup
- 1 small loaf of nice bread, such as an italian
- About 4-6 sprigs of rosemary
- 3 oz soft goat cheese
- 2 oz cream cheese
- Honey (optional)
First off, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Wash and pat-dry your grapes and pull them off them stems, tossing them into a medium bowl. To the bowl add the olive oil and maple syrup. Hint: you can spray your tablespoon with cooking spray so the maple syrup pours out easily. Pull your rosemary off the stem and add it (keeping some little clusters together is fine). Toss the grapes around in this mixture to coat evenly, then spread them onto a baking sheet, making sure they aren’t too crowded anywhere. Sprinkle with a heavy pinch of kosher or sea salt.
Roast the grapes for about 15 minutes. You could easily roast them longer, but I happen to prefer to take them out before they begin to burst. It just keeps them looking a little nicer and maintains a little more texture. While those are cooking, you can prep the rest of the flatbreads. Cut the small loaf of bread in half down through the middle, and then slice each half across the other way, as if you are making two sandwiches out of it. In a small bowl, mash together the goat cheese and cream cheese with a spoon to incorporate them. The cream cheese just makes the goat cheese a little smoother and easier to spread. When the grapes are done, transfer them to a bowl. Before you turn off your oven, put the “flatbreads” on the same sheet, cut side down. The oil/juice should just toast right into the bread, but if you worry there’s enough to make them soggy, just dab the pan with a paper towel to remove some. Toast the bread just 5-10 minutes, keeping an eye on it, until barely starting to turn brown.
And that’s basically it, barring assembly. Let the bread cool just a little so the cheese mixture doesn’t melt, then spread it evenly over the cut sides of the bread. Add enough grapes to cover each one. The rosemary will make these look even prettier in a nice rustic way. If you want to, you can drizzle honey over each flatbread just to bring a little more sweetness to them. Then just serve warm!
*If you wanted more bite-sized versions for a party, you could easily just buy a baguette instead of an italian loaf. Cut the baguette into about 1/2 inch thick slices, brush with olive oil, and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. Voila! You have crostinis you can assemble in the same way for a slightly crunchier, much more portable version.