The best of the bunch: 10 summer recipes to celebrate peak grape season

March 19, 2024

In February in Australia, . From more familiar varieties like red globes and Thompsons to lesser-known specimens like sweet globe and autumn crisp, these sweet bunches are at their best this month. Here are ten ways to make the most of grape season.


“Red grapes / Salt / … Runny honey”: Anna Jones’s recipe is poetry on paper and plate. Roast these fruity little gems until the skins split and turn a deep purple; they’re the crowning glory to slices of toasted sourdough that are slathered with goat’s cheese, showered with black pepper and drizzled with honey. It’s fancy toast with the most.


Wrinkly? Old? Across the grape-freshness spectrum, there is beauty to be found. Plump specimens are good as they are; past-their-prime grapes can be grilled or fried. Slow-roasting, however, as per Tom Hunt’s recipe, intensifies the flavour and sugars, turning shrivelled grapes into intentional homemade raisins. If turning on your oven for 60 minutes sounds like more effort and energy than it’s worth, then throw them in the next time you’re baking a cake or making the weekend roast.


Nik Sharma’s grape, cherry and bulgur salad with fresh herbs

As is the case with many spoonable bulgur salads, juicy fruits and well-chopped ingredients are essential. For your sanity, make sure your grapes are seedless. You will need to halve 400g of them, along with 200g of cherries (so find a cherry pitter too); the capsicum should be finely diced (so find your sharpest knife). Make sure you season the dressing generously – repeat after me, bland bulgur is vulgar – and make sure all the ingredients are well coated. Serve at room temperature, preferably with a roast chicken.


Yotam Ottolenghi’s burrata with chargrilled grapes and basil

Love grapes but hate how they roll on a plate? Along with fish-ball skewers and olive-spiked gildas, there is much joy to be had with these marinated grapes-on-a-stick. It’s a good idea to soak your skewers in water to prevent them from burning on the grill; and overlook Ottolenghi’s direction to ventilate your kitchen at your peril. Serve with bread and orbs of burrata for a light lunch.


Pork and apple is for winter, chicken and grape is for summer; and a chicken and grape fattoush is a summer weekend winner. You’ll need to start this recipe ahead of time to marinate the chicken, preferably overnight. After that, it’s a fairly straightforward, one-pan route from kitchen to table – fry the chicken, zucchini then the grapes, prepare the dressing (in Australia, banana shallots are commonly sold as French shallots, red shallots or eschallots), and allow the pita to soak up all the dressing and pan juices.


Yotam Ottolenghi’s chicken grape and za’atar salad

Another fine example of the chicken-and-grape canon: Yotam Ottolenghi’s picnic-friendly salad with a grape and mustard dressing. This is another recipe to start ahead of time – that chicken isn’t going to marinate itself – although you’ll be glad you did, as the yoghurt marinade is an excellent tenderiser. You’ll need to thinly slice most of the grapes for the dressing (the rest are blitzed in the blender) but truth be told, no one is going to care if you simply halve some. Watercress, mint and a textural za’atar complete the picture.


Like bulgur, earthy braised lentils are an excellent counterpoint to sweet roasted grapes. The recipe calls for small red grapes so crimson seedless, widely available in Australia, would work well here. Watch your lentils as they cook – there is a line between tender and mushy and it’s a fine one.


This is really a schiacciata, the crisp and chewier flatbread of Tuscany, filled and studded with 1kg of black grapes. It’s a sweet-but-not-too-sweet bread-dessert-hybrid to take you from breakfast through to afternoon tea. Clear your kitchen bench and your schedule – the dough requires 15 minutes of kneading, an hour of proving, 45 minutes of baking, plus time for cooling. It is, of course, worth every bite.


Ravneet Gill’s grape clafoutis

“I love a grape,” says Gill. “But they aren’t the easiest to bake with.” The fruit’s exceptional sweetness can be over-the-top in a baked dessert; her clafoutis recipe, however, reins in the saccharine for a quick, light and fluffy pudding. Look out for black seedless grapes – they are a slightly tart-tasting, which is what you need for this dessert.

I love how exacting cocktail recipes are, and this one, with 14 grapes – six of them frozen – is no exception. The eight unfrozen grapes are blitzed with six basil leaves, two teaspoons of sugar, the juice of half a lime and 45ml of gin, then shaken and strained over frozen grapes, which are your garnish and drink-chillers. Do not, however, bite into a frozen grape unless your name is Jaws – both the shark and the James Bond villain.

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