The holidays have been over for more than a week now and it’s time to put down the sweets and get back to healthy eating again. Salads are always an important part of our dinner and I am always looking for new ways to make them interesting and flavorful.
I recently saw a recipe for dried grapes and thought it would be fun to try. I used my own method of stemming and washing the grapes and drying them on wire rack over a baking sheet. Having a convection oven is a plus here. I achieved the right amount of shrivel and concentration of flavor in eight hours.
The preparation was simple and quick and was mostly hands-off during the process. I was very pleased with the results. To complement my new found ingredient, I made a salad of baby romaine, blue cheese, toasted almonds, dried grapes and some sauteed pancetta crumbles. The right combination of sweet, salty, crunchy, creamy and crispy.
- A bunch of red seedless grapes
- Preheat oven, convection is best here, to 185°F.
- Stem and wash the grapes thoroughly. Shake off excess moisture in a colander.
- Place a wire rack over a baking sheet. Distribute the grapes over the wire rack making sure there is space between each grape.
- Place baking sheet in oven. Check occasionally and flip the sheet around, front to back to ensure even cooking.
- The grapes will start to shrivel at the four hour mark and mine were done at eight hours. Store grapes in a container in the refrigerator.
- 4-5 cups of baby romaine
- ¼ c crumbled blue cheese
- ¼ c toasted almonds
- ¼ c sauteed pancetta crumbles
- Dried grapes to taste
- 3 T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 T balsamic vinegar ( I used cranberry pear)
- ¼ t Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Combine romaine, blue cheese, toasted almonds, pancetta crumbles and grapes in a bowl large enough to toss the ingredients.
- Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard in a small bowl and whisk together. Add salt to taste. Toss salad with the vinaigrette and season with freshly ground pepper.