The grapes are here! The grapes are here!
Seeing their dusty maroons, their gilded greens, their rose-golds, I can barely help but gather my
oil paints iPhone and pretend my name's Franz and the year is 1616.
But once I've arranged and rearranged, I get to tasting. And once I've feasted—the dream is that I'm half-asleep on a chaise lounge by this point—it's time to address the (sometimes overwhelming) possibilities of grape transformation.
Pickle them (quickly, in a bath of vinegar (white wine, red wine, apple cider) and spices) or freeze them (for cocktails!)—or just cut to the chase: After 5 minutes in a hot oven, the grapes become slumpy and sweet (redemption for any bunches that were not so firm to begin with.)
Our Test Kitchen Chef Josh Cohen likes to drizzle grapes with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, then put them on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet and into a hot (like 450° F hot) oven for 5 minutes, until the flesh shrugs off the skin and the juices runneth.
Once you've got the ooey grapes, their sweetness concentrated, their skins caramelized, you can eat them just like that, an entirely different textural experience than the pop of puncturing of a fresh grape.
Or you can fancy them up: Josh likes to serve them on crostini (baguette slices brushed with olive oil then baked at 375° F or 400° F till crispy on the edges with some give in the middle) that's been spread with an herby marinated Australian feta that he says is an extremely special cheese (no offense to the other cheeses out there) and that Munchies says "tastes like a young Mel Gibson’s sweaty chest" (hmmm?). Josh tops the crostini with teeny-tiny basil shreds.
But wait, there's more!
Whether you're in the mood for some soup-simmering, leaf-peeping, or nothing at all, your dream weekend awaits...View Guide