Grapes: The Perfect Addition to Lots of Dishes



Red or green or black, I'm color blind in my love for grapes, those sweet, tangy, bursting with flavor fruits. While I'm not quite as fond of the ones with seeds, I welcome them at my fruit smorgasbord.

Grapes are a perfect snack as they offer a great way to get manganese (vitamin B6), thiamin (vitamin B1), vitamin C and potassium. Look for grapes that are plump, firm and free from wrinkles where they attach to stems.

Grapes stay best if they are stored in the refrigerator (they will spoil quite quickly if left at room temperature).


Chicken Tacos With Grape Salsa


3 cups seedless red grapes (about 1 and 1/2 lbs.), chopped 
1 red onion, finely chopped 
1-2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and finely chopped 
1/2 cup chopped cilantro 
juice of 1 lime 
salt and pepper 
1 package (12-count) taco shells 
2 lbs. shredded cooked chicken

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a medium bowl, combine grapes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper and set mixture aside.

Place the taco shells on a baking sheet and heat in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes.

Place the chicken in a medium bowl and microwave at high power until warmed through, about 30 seconds; stir in 1/2 cup of the grape salsa and mix to combine.

Divide the chicken mixture among the 12 taco shells and top with more grape salsa.

Serves 12.


White Fish, Grapes and Avocado Salad


1/2-1 lb. snap peas, cut in half 
2-3 avocados, diced 
3-4 green onions, sliced thin 
juice of 1 to 2 limes 
1 and 1/4 to 2 lbs. smoked whitefish, broken into bite-sized pieces 
2-4 cups red or green grapes, cut in half 
2-3 Tbsps. olive oil 
salt and pepper to taste

In large mixing bowl, combine the snap peas, avocado, green onions and the lime juice. Add the whitefish to the snap pea mixture and toss to combine.

Add the grapes, a little olive oil and some salt and pepper, but be careful with the salt as the whitefish can add more than enough to the salad. Toss gently to combine and serve.

Serves 6 to 8.


Pistachio-Crusted Fish With Grapes


3/4 cup fresh mint, chopped 
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped 
1/3 cup pistachio kernels, finely chopped 
zest of 1 lemon 
4 white fish fillets that are 1/2-inch-thick, such as snapper 
3 Tbsps. olive oil 
1/3 cup bread crumbs 
3/4 cup green grapes, halved 
3/4 cup red grapes, halved 
1 Tbsp. olive oil 
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a bowl, combine the mint, parsley, nuts, breadcrumbs and lemon zest. Rub fish lightly with oil, reserving extra oil. Press crumbs on fish and sprinkle with remaining oil.

Bake on a foil-lined baking sheet for 25 minutes.

For the grapes, heat up a small sauce pan and oil. When hot, add the grapes and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the vinegar. Keep warm until fish is ready.

Divide grape mixture onto four plates, top with cooked fish.

Serves 4.


Spicy Chicken and Grape Lettuce Cups


3/4 cup chicken broth 
1/4 cup soy sauce 
3-5 tsps. chili paste 
1 Tbsp. cornstarch 
1 Tbsp. water 
1 Tbsp. sugar 
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar 
1 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil 
2 Tbsps. minced garlic 
3 Tbsps. minced fresh ginger 
11/2 lbs. ground chicken breast 
1 and 1/2 cup green grapes, halved 
3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, both white and green parts 
1 head iceberg lettuce, cut in half and separated into leaves 
1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into julienne strips 
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro or parsley

To Make the Sauce: In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth, soy sauce, chili paste, cornstarch, water, sugar and vinegar. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and cook until it is no longer pink, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the grapes and green onions and saute for 30 seconds more.

Stir the sauce mixture and pour into the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Spoon the hot chicken mixture into the prepared lettuce leaves. Garnish with the cucumber and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a main course and 8 as an appetizer.


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