Marinated Grape and Goat Cheese Salad

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This salad was a happy accident. I intended to make a grilled nectarine salad with goat cheese, but the nectarines I got were super mealy, flavorless, and gross. So, I had to improvise, and the Marinated Grape and Goat Cheese Salad was born!

A few weeks ago, I was flipping Ottolenghi’s Simple, by Yotam Ottolenghi, and ran across his recipe for grilled, marinated grapes. I did not know that you could grill or marinate grapes, and I was very interested. His marinade is completely different from the one I used, but when I cut into that mealy nectarine and saw the nice firm grapes sitting on the counter, I knew what I had to do.

Marinated Grapes

I am very pleased that I now know about marinated grapes. Grapes are so delightful on their own, I’d never thought they needed a transformation, but adding some acid, oil, and seasonings to them makes the grapes really special. In this case, I marinated them in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and honey. In his book, Ottolenghi says it is ideal to marinate them for a day, but I did not notice a difference in the grapes I marinated for one hour vs one day. That said, marinated grapes will keep for a few days in the fridge.

These grapes would make an awesome appetizer on their own, and they definitely are the star of this salad.

Marinated grapes might be your new favorite snack.

Making the Balsamic Glaze

Before you get crazy with the grapes (you’re going to sear half of them in a pan), you need to make the balsamic glaze. For the glaze, bring the balsamic vinegar and honey to a boil and them immediately reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the glaze thickens slightly and can coat the back of a spoon. Then pour into a container and let cool.

grape salad
This could be your lunch.

Cooking Grapes? Are You Sure?

For this Marinated Grape and Goat Cheese Salad, you’re going to sear half of the grapes. Like, in a pan. It sounds crazy, but the warm, half burst caramelized grapes mix with the cold, fresh grapes and greens for a flavor and texture explosion. There are also chopped almonds to add to the party.

So, how do you sear grapes? Preheat a frying pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until quite hot. Then scoop half of your marinated grapes out of their balsamic vinegar bath with a slotted spoon, and carefully release them into the pan. They will hiss at you, do not listen to them. Roll them around in the pan until you see nice brown spots on them and a few have burst open. Then quickly pour or scoop them into a bowl. Have the rest of the salad ready for assembly, as you want the seared marinated grapes to still be warm when you eat.

searing grapes
My pan cleaned right up, but if your gives you trouble, add a little water and boil it for a couple of minutes. That should release anything that’s stuck on.

Assembling the Salad

Step 1: Arrange greens on a plate or platter.

Step 2: Pinch some bits of goat cheese off, and sprinkle them about.

Step 3: Arrange half of the fresh grapes, and half of the seared ones over the salad.

Step 4: Make it rain chopped almonds.

Step 5: Drizzle a small amount of balsamic glaze over the whole thing.

Step 6: Repeat steps 1 through 5, if you wish, for a double-decker salad.

Step 7: Enjoy!

seared marinated grape salad

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Marinated Grape and Goat Cheese Salad

With seared, marinated grapes, creamy goat cheese, crunchy almonds and a sweet balsamic reduction, I think you just found your new lunch go-to.
Prep Time 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins

Ingredients

For the Balsamic Glaze

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey

For the Marinated Grapes

  • 1 large bunch red grapes
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 and 1/2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey

For the Salad

  • mixed salad greens
  • 1 log goat cheese
  • 1 cup roughly chopped roasted almonds

Instructions

For the Balsamic Glaze

  • In a small sauce pan over medium heat, bring the balsamic vinegar and honey to a boil, and then immediately reduce the heat to low.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes, or until thickened to your liking. Be careful not to burn.

For the Grapes

  • Whisk all marinade ingredients (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and honey) together in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Pick the grapes off of the stem and drop them into the marinade. Stir.
  • Let the grapes marinate for 1 hour, and up to a few days.
  • When you're ready to assemble the salad, preheat a 10 or 12 inch frying pan over medium for a few minutes over medium heat, until hot.
  • Scoop out half of the grapes from the marinade with a slotted spoon, and carefully place them in the hot pan.
  • Let them sear, shaking the pan occasionally to roll the grapes over, until brown spots form and/or a few grapes start to burst.
  • Pour the seared grapes into a bowl.

Assembly

  • Arrange half of your salad greens on a plate or platter. Tear off pieces of goat cheese, and sprinkle them around the plate. Do the same with half of the fresh marinated grapes, half of the seared marinated grapes, and half of the almonds.
  • Drizzle a small amount of balsamic glaze over the first layer.
  • Arrange the other half of your greens on top of the first layer, then add the rest of your ingredients. Drizzle another small amount of balsamic glaze over the whole salad.
  • Enjoy!
Author: athometestcook
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: almonds, Balsamic Vinegar, goat cheese, grapes, salad

Join the Conversation

  1. Um, this sounds amazing!! I think this salad with the chicken wienerschitzel would be an awesome combination. I wish they were both sitting in front of me right now!!! Yum!!

    1. Ooo, that would be a good combo!

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