Sunday, August 26, 2012

Grape Expectations - Two Ways Grapes Go Savory

"Sweet Surrender" Seedless Black Grapes, Photo: NK
Grapes - 

Super as a snack, a welcome addition to cheese plates, providers of a pleasant pop of flavor in fruit salads, and last but certainly not least, the source of the indispensable wonder that is wine. But how often do you see them a dinner plate? In my opinion, not nearly enough. 

This week, a really amazing bunch of grapes from a California-based producer called The Grapery inspired me. Check them out HERE.   Jet black and at peak ripeness, these grapes were exceptionally sweet, plump, and jammy. Naturally, I just had to work them into at least a few of our meals. 

The result? An elegant salad fit for company that my husband went bonkers over, and a really healthy, super easy entree of grape and spiced pork kebabs that easily adapts into a crowd-pleasing tapa or appetizer. 

Spicy Grilled Pork and Grape Kebabs
Adapted from Bill Briwa/Wine Spectator
Serves 2 as an entree, 4 as an appetizer
Prep Time: Requires at least 1 hour marinating time, and can sit up to one day. 

1 1/2 teaspoon Mild Curry Powder
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Indian Coriander Seed, hand crushed with a heavy object or freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
1/8 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Orange Juice
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 Lb Pork Tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 Lb Large Seedless Black Grapes
Salt to Taste 
Greens or Garnish of your choice. We used Tatsoi (a bittersweet, small-leafed Asian green quite like spinach). 
Wood skewers

At least one hour before or as much as a day before, combine the Curry Powder, Cumin, Ground Coriander Seed, Paprika and Cinnamon.

Spice Mix, Photo: NK

Thread Pork Chunks and Grapes onto your skewers, alternating each ingredient. 

Spread spice mix on a large plate or other flat surface and dip the skewers into the spices to coat evenly, sprinkling on the excess as well. 

Spicing up the Kebabs, Photo: NK

Next, prepare the marinade. In a small bowl, combine Orange Juice, Olive Oil and minced Garlic. Stir to combine ingredients.

Place the skewers in an airtight container and pour the marinade over them. Let sit for at least an hour or up to a day, turning once in a while to distribute the liquid evenly.

To cook, heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Place skewers on the grill and cook on each side for about 4-5 minutes until the Pork is cooked through but not dry.

Remove from grill and season liberally with Salt to taste. 

Allow to sit 4 to 5 minutes.

Serve and enjoy! 

Spicy Grilled Grape and Pork Kebabs, Photo: NK
Next up, the salad: 

Oak Leaf Lettuce Salad with Blue Cheese and Black Grapes
Adapted from Food and Wine
Serves 4

3/4 cups Seedless Black Grapes, halved
20-25 Almonds, halved
Red Oak Leaf Lettuce (about 8 cups) - Gotham Greens brand available on Freshdirect
3 ounces Valdeon Blue Cheese, crumbled (Cabrales or Roquefort work well too)

Ingredients, Photo: NK

Delicious Valdeon Cheese and Almonds, Photo: NK
For the Shallot Vinaigrette:    
1.5 Tablespoons diced Shallot
1/2 teaspoon Agave Nectar or Honey

1 Tablespoon Sherry Vinegar
2.5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Wash and thoroughly dry lettuce leaves, tearing in half any larger ones. 

To prepare the Vinaigrette, put Shallots in a small bowl, add Agave Nectar and Vinegar and stir. 

Stream in Olive Oil, whisking constantly to emulsify. Season with salt. 

Dress lettuce and toss in Grapes and Almonds. Add Salt and Pepper to taste. 
Plate Salad and top with Blue Cheese Crumbles

 Oak Leaf Lettuce Salad with Blue Cheese and Black Grapes, Photo: NK

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  1. I was so excited to try this recipe- it sounded absolutely delicious and the pics posted made even more excited to get into my kitchen and get started- I followed the easy to follow steps and VOILA I did it! I got rave reviews from my boyfriend who loved it- the flavor of the dressing is sensational- the only change I made substituted goat cheese in lieu of blue cheese. The salad was crunchy, tangy and refreshing & I will most definitely be making it again soon. Thanks so much!

  2. So glad you enjoyed!! Many thanks for taking the time to comment :)

  3. So glad you enjoyed!! Many thanks for tak