Monday, December 14, 2009

Pickled Grapes

I was listening to Lynn Rosetto-Kasper of Splendid Table gushing over Matt & Tedd, the Lee Brothers, and their new cookbook Simple Fresh Southern. I was nodding at many of the Southern style party recipes they discussed with Rosetto-Kasper. One caught me totally off-guard: pickled grapes.

Again, stop wretching.

Yes, pickled grapes. The Lees said these Thompson seedless green grapes take on an almost olive-like quality. And all you need is equal parts water and vinegar, plus some chili pepper, rosemary and garlic. The sour grape takes on a pleasantly pickled flavor.

Of course I had to try this, but without their cookbook in front of me I had to improvise instead (of course, dumbass didn't bother to actually check the Splendid Table website, where the recipe is clearly posted). So I put about a cup of seedless green grapes in a container, added one cup each water and vinegar, plus three chopped cloves of garlic, a few sprigs of rosemary and a few generous pinches of roasted red pepper flakes. After marinating it all in the fridge overnight, I was pleasantly surprised.

However, I cannot say this was sour at all (maybe I didn't buy Thompson seedless). Instead, the grapes tasted a little sweet. This sweetness was actually magnified by the vinegar and garlic. So it wasn't the same thing that the Lees were promising, but it was good anyway. In fact, it instantly reminded me of the Cambodian style pickles where you just throw some fresh veggies into a water-vinegar-fish sauce-garlic solution and let it quickly marinate. So I wonder how these pickled grapes would taste with a little bit of fish sauce thrown into the pickling brine. I shall have to try this later on.

Since I didn't add the salt that the Lee Brothers so clearly put in their recipe, it's no wonder they come out sweet. I still like the flavor, but some salt or fish sauce still needs to go in. In retrospect, I did things very differently than they did. So next time, I will follow the actual recipe, to see how the Lee Brothers pickle their grapes.