These roasted grapes on the vine are lightly seasoned with fennel and make a surprisingly simple yet elegant autumnal accompaniment to cheese plates or roasts.
What do you do with roasted grapes?
A lot of things. Namely whatever you’re curious to try. Here, a smidgen of inspiration…
- Placed on crostini with ricotta or cream cheese
- Set on a cheese or charcuterie board
- Tossed in chicken salad
- Served alongside roasted chicken or turkey (in place of cranberry sauce)
- Placed on the plate with grilled steak and blue cheese sauce
- Mixed with Dijon-style mustard as a mostarda for grilled pork tenderloin
- Stirred into wild rice
- Scattered over roasted broccoli, feta, and almonds
- Plopped atop vanilla ice cream
- Nibbled all alone as a snack
Roasted Grapes on the Vine
- Quick Glance
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 55 M
- Serves 4 to 6
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
In a large baking dish, drizzle the grapes with the oil and then sprinkle with the fennel, pepper, and salt. Gently turn the grapes to coat with the mixture. Place the sprigs of thyme on and around the grapes.
Roast the grapes for about 45 minutes, turning halfway through.
Serve, preferably after cooling to room temperature, as part of a cheese or charcuterie board, or as a side to grilled or roasted meats.
*What is fennel pollen and how can I use it?
Fennel pollen is oft referred to as a sort of fairy dust of spices. Rightly so, given its rather magical and complex taste that far surpasses that of mere ground fennel. It has to be experienced rather than intellectually understood. And once you do, you’ll want to sprinkle it on everything. And we do mean just about anything.
Recipe Testers' Tips
I really wasn't expecting to like these grapes as much as I did. The sweetness of the grapes combined with the licorice taste of the fennel and the fresh herbal thyme is addicting! I kept nibbling on the grapes while wondering how I would use them.
I really had no idea at first and Googled how to use roasted grapes. I decided on crostini. One with peanut butter and one with cream cheese. While not the most attractive crostini, the peanut butter was really good, like a PB&J crostini. Add some bacon and it would be amazing.
These grapes would be the perfect addition to any cheese or charcuterie plate. I’m going to use more tomorrow in some chicken salad. They would really be good tossed into any type of salad or just on their own!
The 45 minutes in recipe was perfect with turning half way. I didn't have ground fennel so I used fennel seeds. I used coarse sea salt.
Serving size really depends on how you use them. If you use them for crostinis you can make enough for a large gathering when allowed again! I think the recipe will go along way whatever they are used for.
Here's the bottom line up front: these grapes are delicious. I would prepare them again though I'm still struggling to figure out the perfect accompaniment.
The best part is that syrupy, savory-sweet liquid that oozes out them. I could eat that with a spoon (which I may or may not have done).
Nothing about the recipe is difficult--a few simple straightforward ingredients put together in no time. The grapes took me about 10 minutes of prep time (washing and drying the grapes and grinding fennel seeds, which I had on hand instead of pre-ground fennel, and cracking the pepper, and assembling in the dish) and then 45 minutes in the oven.
I cooled them for about 30 minutes to be sure they were at room temperature as the recipe suggests, so total time about an hour and 25 minutes.
I served them with some roast chicken and that was fine. My tasters wondered if you could mash them a bit for an alternative to cranberry sauce with turkey. Interesting idea that would probably be a better combo than the chicken. I also tried them with a nice, sharp English cheddar and that was a standout for me. Next time I make them, I'm going to experiment with a cheese board, or maybe on crostini with a ricotta or other rich, mild soft cheese that would catch the juice.
As a point of disagreement, my tasters didn't love the consistency of the grape on its own after roasting, but loved the flavor of the juice--to each his own. Also, next time I would take the grapes off the vine before roasting (of course, you couldn't call them vine-roasted then) because they were a messy pain to remove and weren't that interesting visually.
I adore the taste of fennel pollen and was excited to use it in this unique recipe for vine-roasted red grapes. I'm used to using fennel pollen on proteins like pork, seafood, or chicken, but sprinkled on sweet red grapes flavored with fruity olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemony fresh thyme was equally as divine.
I served some of the roast grapes with a roasted broccoli, feta and Marcona almond side dish. The rest of the grapes I’m going to serve tonight with a pork tenderloin as a mostarda mixed with some mustard seeds and white wine. I could see these roasted grapes on the vine as a dramatic and welcomed accompaniment to a charcuterie board or addition to wild rice side dish or stuffing as well.
As for the recipe itself, roasting the grapes for 45 minutes made them super jammy. Their sweetness was really intensified by cooking them this way. I used 1/2 of the 1 lb. of roasted grapes in my broccoli salad (which served 4 people), and the rest will go in the mostarda condiment tonight.
If grape clusters or fennel pollen or fennel seed are not pantry items for you, please go buy some and make this recipe! I was smitten just at the sight of the photo. By the time I read the ingredients, I was in love. I happened to have all the ingredients on hand and that probably also augmented my excitement.
I could only get about a teaspoon of fennel pollen from my garden so I used that and another teaspoon of freshly ground fennel. By 40 minutes, the grapes looked roasted but were not coming off the vine easily. I waited until the 45 minutes and this was still the case with a few of the grapes. After testing the flavor, I believe this was due to the caramelization of the grape on the stem.
The sweetness of the grape and fennel combined with the cracked pepper, thyme, and coarse sea salt created a savory and unique experience as if you were visiting a vineyard in late fall and these were a late harvest variety.
These would be very impactful on a cheese board along with fresh grapes, served alongside a beefy steak with blue cheese, as a vanilla ice cream topping? Sure, why not?! Roasted grapes you could make a toast with! Cheers!
While these grapes could be nibbled on solo as a snack, I’m most inclined to steer them to the next serving of cheese, whether a solo cheese looking for accompaniment or a cheese tray or board with additional add-ons. The unpredictable addition of fennel won us all over. We could have eaten them warm and liked them equally well at room temperature.
For future batches, I might let them roast a little longer, or crank the heat up a little higher, to encourage both the skin and the inside to get a bit softer.
This was a big hit when I served it and the preparation couldn't be easier. When my guests tasted the roasted grapes, their eyes lit up and they immediately had seconds. So yes, this recipe is a winner.
This recipe served six people as an appetizer. Doubling or even quadrupling the recipe would be a snap.