Park a giant bowl of fruit salad on the dining table, and my husband Ted and I both go for the cantaloupe and honeydew chunks, and any odd things like kiwi. He'll take the mango; I'll claim the watermelon. And we never fight over the grapes. I could eat grapes all day, every day, in the way one might chomp on peanut M&Ms all day, every day, but cold grapes are not Ted's thing. However, set those grapes in a frying pan over low heat, shake-shake-shake the pan every now and then until the grapes burst and their sweet juices ooze out, and spoon them over some seasoned ricotta cheese, and Ted is there, all in. These warm grapes barely resemble the fresh grapes I eat like candy; they become a grape "sauce" once they've popped open, not as sweet as grape jelly but every bit as spreadable. We've enjoyed these bruschetta as a first course, and as dessert. You can toast the bread, and mix the cheese, ahead of time, and assemble at the last minute when the pan of grapes is ready. Use any variety of seedless grapes, or a mix of red, green and black.
Basil ricotta bruschetta with pan-burst grapes
From the pantry, you'll need: honey, kosher salt, fresh black pepper, olive oil.
Serves 4 (2-3 pieces per person); can be multiplied.
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1 heaping cup seedless grapes (red or green, or a mix)
1 small (demi) baguette or other small loaf of crusty bread, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a small bowl, mix ricotta, basil, honey, salt and pepper. You can do this early in the day, or at least 20 minutes before assembling the bruschetta. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the grapes, and shake the pan to coat the grapes with oil. Continue to cook on low until some of the grapes begin to burst and exude their juices, from 8 to 20 minutes depending on the ripeness of the grapes. You want some of the grapes to collapse, and others to remain whole. When the grapes look like they've reached that point, remove from the heat and set the pan aside.
Slice the bread on an angle, and place the slices on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, until the top side is just slightly crusty. (You can do this ahead of time, too.)
Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and flip the slices over. Smear each one with a bit of the ricotta mixture, and return to the oven for 3 minutes, just to warm the cheese.
Transfer the bread slices to a serving platter, and top with the burst grapes. Add a sprinkling of black pepper, if desired.
Serve at room temperature.
More grapes, because you can never have too many:
Turkey salad with grapes and walnuts, from The Perfect Pantry
Broccoli raab with honey and grapes, from The Perfect Pantry
Embarrassingly easy chocolate covered grape skewers, from How Sweet It Is
Roasted Brussels sprouts and grapes, from Steamy Kitchen
Chickpea, blue cheese, and grape sandwich, from Naturally Ella
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