Roast Grapes, Radicchio & Grilled Cheese
Updated: Nov 13, 2021
Not your usual contorno, (side dish), this is one you can save for when you have those guests you want to impress.
It's jaw-droopingly good and so fancy - imagine yourself telling your friends ROAST GRAPES, RADICCHIO AND GRILLED CHEESE...sounds fancy, doesn't it? But it's at the same time so incredibly easy to make!
The contrast of sweet grapes and bitter radicchio is such a perfect combination, and as the grapes a roasted, they release all their sugar and caramelise, creating a delicious juice that will infuse the dish beautifully!
Just a couple of tips to keep in mind:
Choose preferably a seedless variety of grapes. One that works really well is sultana (yep, the one that is usually dried-up) - it's seedless but also has one of the highest concentration of sugar so perfect for this as it releases all its sugars and caramelises really well. Bake them at a low temperature, don't rush this as they will just burn without caramelising.
Choose the right variety of radicchio. Radicchio's typical bitterness can be an acquired taste for some. But in truth, radicchio comes in a myriad of varieties, some of which are less bitter, or not bitter at all. We could write an entire post just documenting the different varieties of radicchio, but to simplify, I'll just recommend you choose the round, purple variety (as opposed to the long type which tends to be more bitter). You can ask your grocer for radicchio di Verona if you can find it.
Now the cheese. I used thick slices of Sicilian buffalo provolone. I know this can be quite hard to find, so feel free to use any kind of semi-hard cheese that doesn't melt easily. Halloumi is probably the best known cheese for grilling, thanks to its high melting point. But another great alternative could be paneer.
And now, to the recipe.
Ingredients (for 4-6 as a side)
1 head of round radicchio (see notes above), sliced into thick wedges
8 slices of Sicilian buffalo provolone or other kind of cheese, preferably halloumi or paneer
500 g grapes
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A handful of fresh chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the grapes in the oven and bake at a low temperature - around 150C - for about 2 hours. The grapes should caramelise without burning, so don't rush it by increasing the temperature.
Half hour before the grapes are ready, your can start grilling the radicchio and the cheese.
Heat up a grill (or pan also works), brush with a little oil, sprinkle some salt and place the radicchio wedges. Cook them on a medium flame, turning them halfway through, until they are nicely browned and cooked through on both sides. Set aside.
On the same grill now place the cheese and grill on both sides. The time needed will depend on the kind of cheese you chose, and could vary between 30 seconds for provolone, to a few minutes on each side for halloumi or paneer. Set this aside as well.
Arrange on a serving platter by alternating the radicchio, grilled cheese and roast grapes. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper and lastly top with freshly chopped parsley.
Serve while still warm, or cold.