Easy, Tasty – and Ideal with Crackers, Crostini, or even Ice Cream
Roasted grapes? Yeah, they’re terrific all by themselves. But add chili crisp (a spicy Chinese condiment) and you have a powerful pairing.
We particularly like to use this combo in a tasty dip (which you can also use as a spread, topping, or sauce).
Prepare to smack your lips.
Recipe: Roast Grapes and Chili Crisp Dip (or Spread)
Chili crisp has become a thing. We first took notice of it a few years ago when our friend Terry (who writes the blog Blue Kitchen) used the ingredient in a recipe for "Old Godmother" Spicy Potatoes and Pork.
Chili crisp is spicy and a bit crunchy (hence the “crisp” part of the name). The crunch comes from roasted onions, which are combined with hot peppers and oil. It tastes a bit like Chinese chili garlic sauce on steroids. It’s hot, but not tongue numbing. You could probably eat a spoonful of chili crisp without dire consequences (though we don’t recommend it). That’s not something we would ever do with chili garlic sauce.
Several brands of chili crisp are available. We prefer the Lao Gan Ma brand (Lao Gan Ma means “old godmother,” hence the name of Terry’s recipe). It’s the original chili crisp and we think it’s still the best. You can find it online or at any Asian market.
This recipe takes about 35 to 40 minutes to make (most of that time is for roasting the grapes).
The recipe yields about 1 cup. Leftovers keep for several days if refrigerated in an airtight container.
- ~1 pound of grapes (we prefer red grapes)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (may substitute another edible oil of your choice)
- salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon kosher salt; see Notes)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (maybe a dozen grinds)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (see Notes). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Remove the grapes from their stems (see Notes) and place them in a colander or strainer. Wash the grapes under the kitchen faucet, then shake the colander to remove excess water.
- Place the grapes in a mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, then roll the grapes around in it until they’re coated. Add salt and black pepper to taste, using your hands to distribute the seasoning evenly.
- Pour the grapes onto the lined baking sheet. Spread them around so they do not touch. Roast the grapes for 25 to 30 minutes – just until they’re starting to blacken.
- Remove the roasted grapes from the oven and let them cool for at least 10 minutes. Then add the grapes to the bowl of a food processor (for 1 pound of grapes, you can use a mini food processor). Add one to two tablespoons of chili crisp (see Notes) and whirl briefly to combine. We prefer a chunky texture, so we stop the food processor after a few spins. Taste the mixture, add salt if needed, and serve.
|Ingredients: Roast Grapes and Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp
- We typically use a high heat setting when roasting fruits or vegetables. For roasting grapes, you can probably use any oven temperature from 350 to 450 degrees F. Adjust roasting time accordingly.
- When we roast grapes to use alone, we rarely remove them from their stems (we just pick them off one by one after they’re roasted). For this recipe, we find it easier to remove them from the stems before roasting.
- Red grapes? Green grapes? Black grapes? We always use red, but another variety would probably work as well.
- Don’t have grapes on hand? You could probably substitute plums, peaches, strawberries, or another fruit.
- How much chili crisp to use? We prefer 2 tablespoons per pound of grapes. But we like spicy. You might want to start with 1 tablespoon and adjust upwards if you crave more kick.
- You can serve Roast Grapes and Chili Crisp Dip with crackers. Or as a spread on crostini. Or even use it as an ice cream topping. It would also work as a salsa-type sauce on roast or grilled meat (try it with pork).
- Want to serve this dip on crostini? We suggest using a layer of cream cheese. Just spread a smear of cream cheese on slices of French bread (we sometimes toast them slightly), then top with the dip.
- BTW, adding some roast grapes (on the stem) to a cheese board will make you a popular host. Roast grapes are particularly nice with goat cheese or blue cheese.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to taste – yours, not ours.
“Yummo!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “I can’t decide if this is better as a dip or a topping. Luckily, I don’t have to choose.”
“So you’re glad I dipped into my bag of tricks to make this?” I said.
“Indeed,” said Mrs K R. “This is so good, I can’t spread on too much praise.”
Go ahead. Much better than having Mrs K R roast me.
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