Words and Recipe by Charles Hunter III
Headshot by Austin Lord Photography
I despised grapes as a kid, but I made an exception for them if they were peeled.
Yes—I was that kid, and it still pertains to some tannic skinned fruits today. I also didn’t like the seeds, which just made me all kinds of high-maintenance for my mom when trying to get me to eat them.
When I was around six or seven, we found out that I was allergic to just about everything in nature. I was practically one allergy away from being the bubble boy. It was a rough life as a kid, but it was a good life nonetheless. Once you're aware of all the things you’re allergic to, you simply calculate your next move, much like chess, and carry on. There were those moments when I’d reach for something and forget to read the label. A few arm scratches later and the arousal of all my senses, I was scrambling for an antihistamine and a few puffs of my inhaler. Allergies combined with asthma were anything but fun as an energetic youth with a passion for life. But I survived, and I’m here to tell you all about it.
Nowadays, my allergies are somewhat tame. I no longer require a weekly visit to get allergy shots, and I am able to eat half of the foods I used to be allergic to. So, I occasionally enjoy a handful of grapes as long as they’re washed thoroughly—because I learned that with some of my allergies, it was more about the tree or vine than the fruit itself. Interesting, huh?
I later learned that it was called OAS, or Oral Allergy Syndrome, and it happens when one eats raw or uncooked fruit. Once I discovered that it had a name, life became a little bit easier, and I ate all the fruit pie I could stand! To this day, there are times when all I long for is a juicy peach or sweet gala apple that doesn't require being peeled or cooked. I won’t even tell you how heartbroken I was when tomatoes got thrown into the mix.
Anywho, I’m done depressing you with my allergy problems. Let’s get to the roasted grape vinaigrette. It’s really delicious, and I believe that it would be great on and in a variety of things, from salads to wraps to your yogurt or grain bowl. It isn't overly sweet, it’s creamy, and it’s a perfect way to never let grapes go to waste.
Roasted Grape Vinaigrette
1.5-2 lbs seedless grapes
1/3 cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional)
1/2 cup neutral oil (avocado or grapeseed)
1/2 tsp kosher salt (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Remove your grapes from the vine, rinse them thoroughly, and pat them dry. Place them in a bowl and toss them in 1 tablespoon of oil, then season lightly with salt and pepper, making sure that everything is coated evenly. Spread the grapes out on a sheet pan and roast them for about 18 to 25 minutes, or until the skin begins to wrinkle and juices begin to caramelize on the pan. Allow any juices that accumulated on the pan during cooking to make it into the dressing. Avoid any burnt bits.
- Once the grapes are room temperature or completely cooled, transfer them into a blender with the oil, and puree until smooth. Scrape down the sides to make sure everything gets blended. Once your puree is nice and smooth, add your vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper until it is seasoned to your liking.
- Transfer your vinaigrette to an airtight container and store it in your fridge. It will keep a little over a week—if you let it last that long.