I've been obsessing over savory grapes ever since I saw this gorgeous recipe from Lindsey. I could not get them out of my head, so when I was at the greenmarket the other day and spotted an beautiful, overflowing quart of concord grapes, I grabbed them along with some shallots and pine nuts and I marched them straight home, de-seeded them, and tossed them into my cast iron.
Since I don't have a big sweet tooth, I am not a huge fan of fruit on it's own. I am, however, a huge fan of using fruit as a complement to savory flavors. Sometimes you forget how brilliantly the way our palate responds to the balance of sweet, savory and salty until you mix together unlikely combinations like grapes, shallots, garlic, salt, and pine nuts. It just works.
Concord grapes are some of the more stunning edibles made by nature, and they taste just as good as they look. Their midnight hue turns to a deep, rich purple when they are sautéed. They make for a very pretty, very fancy, adult snack.
Looks aside, their seeds can be a bit stubborn. I have researched and researched and have yet to find an efficient way to de-seed these guys, and I'm not going to lie, it's a bit of a pain in the ass. But if you and I are anything alike, you will love that kind of meditative prep work.
I don't want to give the grapes all the attention, because this herb and shallot loaded socca is pretty special too. Unlike the grapes, socca has no season, so you can make this sans-gluten flatbread anytime, with or without the grapes. Sooca is the perfect vehicle for snack-y dips and spreads.
I am picturing you making these grapes and socca and serving them as app for a dinner party with friends. This is perfect for that, and your friends will think you are real fancy with your sophisticated sweet and savory grape palate.
concord grape sauté | shallot + herb chickpea flatbread (socca)
MAKES 9-12 squares
for the shallot + herb socca (chickpea flatbread):
1 cup of garbanzo bean flour
1 1/4 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, pressed or minced
1 spring of rosemary, minced
a pinch of fresh oregano, minced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced with a mandolin
several cracks of fresh black pepper
for the grape sauté:
1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil
1 quart (2-3 bunches) of concord grapes (or any kind of grape), sliced in half and de-seeded
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
a pinch of salt
for the pine nut crumble:
3 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted
a pinch of salt
several crack of black pepper
De-seed the grapes:
- You want to do this first (or even ahead of time), because it is going to take a little while. Using a paring or small serrated knife, cut the grapes in half and then pry out the seeding using the tip of the knife. Don't worry if the skins separate from the grape, you will use both parts for the sauté. Once you're done de-seeding, prep the rest of the ingredients.
Make the pine nut crumble:
- Grind the toasted pine nuts, salt, and pepper using a mortar and pestle until you have a fine crumbly consistency. Set aside until you're ready to assemble.
Prepare + bake the socca:
- Pre-heat the oven to 450º. Grease a small baking sheet (no larger than 9"x12").
- Place the flour, water, salt, olive oil, and garlic into a blender and blend until everything is incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the baking sheet. Sprinkle the minced herbs over the top as well as the shallots and finish with some black pepper.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top is browning and the edges are pulling away from the sides. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Then transfer the socca to a cutting board, and cut 9-12 squares.
While the socca is baking, start the sauté:
- Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 5 minutes until they are soft. Then add the grapes. Cook for several minutes until the grapes have completely broken down and are almost a jam-like consistency. Towards the end of their cooking time, add in the garlic and salt and cook for a couple more minutes. Remove from the heat.
Assemble the socca / grape squares:
- Spoon a small amount of the grape sauté onto the socca and top with the sprinkle of the pine nuts along with any additional toppings that you like.
- The socca, grape sauté and pine nuts can be made a few days in advance, although I would recommend heating up the grapes in a cast iron before serving.