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Recipes for using the best in-season grapes

A rectangular pastry tart drizzled with lavender icing.
Grapes are the most exciting fruit at the market now. Here’s what to make with them, including this vibrant fruit tart.
(Ben Mims / Los Angeles Times)

What I love most about grapes is that they come around at just the right time. After the whirlwind of heady, tart stone fruit, and before the floral punch of apple season, grapes arrive to give us a break and a chance to celebrate their simple pleasures. Don’t get me wrong, grapes are complexly flavored, but they’re also sweet and tart like the best candy — a straightforward flavor that’s easy to focus on.

Here are some recipes that take advantage of the fruit of the moment.

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On the savory front, grapes are wonderful cooked down with wine for a simple sauce that pairs well with pork, lamb, beef or any game meat. And roasting whole bunches with fennel seeds and salt draws out their umami qualities and makes them an excellent choice as a side dish.

For dessert, the rich flavor of Concord grape juice makes a fantastic granita spiced with cloves and black pepper. And if you want more of an early-fall baking project, try this grape sheet tart, which sandwiches the cooked fruit between slabs of buttery pastry for a grown-up Pop-Tart, wonderful for breakfast on these thank-God-it’s-feeling-cooler mornings.

Pork Tenderloin With Concord Grape Sauce

Concord grapes are just the thing to use for a wine reduction to sauce seared pork tenderloin medallions. They get meltingly soft cooked in the wine. Reminiscent of fresh cherries, their sweetness is mitigated by garlic and shallots. The sauce takes on a deep-purple glaze-y shine.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 30 minutes.

Oven-Roasted Grapes

Roasting grapes concentrates their flavor and, with the addition of ground fennel seeds and salt, brings out their umami flavors. Serves these grapes like a side dish to any roasted meat or stirred into pasta with sausage.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 15 minutes.

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Concord Grape Granita

Years ago, at Campanile, Mark Peel made a deep-flavored, gorgeous granita with Concord grapes, Beaujolais wine, whole cloves and black pepper. It’s gorgeous, with big grape flavor and the kick of pepper and clove.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 15 minutes, plus 2 hours.

Thomcord Grape Sheet Tart

This giant grape toaster pastry is ideal for breakfast but is also wonderful served warm, topped with vanilla ice cream, as a dessert for a crowd. This tart also works well as a template for berries, like blueberry, blackberry and raspberry.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 2 ½ hours, plus chilling.

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