Thanks to our new neighbours, we have grapes dangling over our wall in their hundreds. They are deliciously sweet, occasionally mouth-puckering and have only one drawback – pips! In these days of seedless, uniformly sweet grapes, which have had any bitterness bred out of them, a grape with pips is enough to put off any child I know. Which is a bit bonkers, really, when you consider that pips contain most of the antioxidants and goodness. Here, roast grapes are a revelation in a delicious end-of-summer salad – with pips, or without.
Goat’s cheese crostini salad with roast grapes and walnuts
Roasting the grapes concentrates and caramelises their sugars, which makes for a lovely contrast to the salty cheese and earthy nuts.
Prep 15 min
Cook 15 min
300g black grapes, separated into small bunches
75g shelled walnuts, roughly chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
150g log goat’s cheese, cut into 8 slices
8 small, thin slices of baguette
1 whole head frisee lettuce, or a mix of crunchy and soft salad leaves
For the mustard dressing
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp honey
1 ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Heat the grill to medium-high and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Put the grapes in a bowl with the walnuts, rosemary and oil, season generously and gently toss until everything glistens with oil. Roughly prick as many grapes as possible with the tip of a sharp knife, then arrange on the tray with the walnuts and grill for five to seven minutes, until the walnuts look toasted and the whole lot smells delicious. Remove from the grill (leave it turned on) and set aside to cool.
Whisk all the dressing ingredients and season. Separate the lettuce leaves and put in a salad bowl.
Lightly toast the baguette slices on both sides under the grill, then spread the goat’s cheese on one side of each one, covering as much of the surface as possible. Grill again for a few minutes, until the cheese is just beginning to colour – you’ll need to keep an eye on them, because they catch easily.
Toss the leaves, walnuts and grapes in the dressing, season to taste and pour over any leftover pan juices from the grilled grapes. Serve at once with the crostini alongside.
And for the rest of the week …
I love roast grapes on weekend pancakes, and they work brilliantly on pizza with some parma ham, too.