Start with grape salsa and bruschetta, with wine and beer, as a snack or a first course (photos #1 and #3 courtesy California Table Grape Commission).  Another savory appetizer/first course: goat cheese cheesecake. What’s missing? The grape salsa! Here’s the recipe from Love And Olive Oil.  Move on to the mains; here, grilled salmon with grape salsa.  White cod with grape salsa. Here’s the recipe from Food And Wine.
To add color to a plate of white, beige or brown food with an easy sauce or colorful garnish.
But if it’s a simply grilled chicken breast or fish fillet, look to salsa.
Even in the winter months, with no good tomatoes, stone fruits, etc., a colorful, delicious and nutritious sauce can be made from…grapes.
Salsa is not just for taco chips. The original translation is the generic “sauce”; it was used for millennia before tortilla chips were invented (in the late 1940s, in L.A.).
RECIPE: GRAPE SALSA
We adapted this recipe from a suggestion by the California Table Grape Commission.
2 cups seedless grapes, assorted colors
1/2 cup chopped green onions (scallions) or red onion
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice or vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sriracha, jalapeño or other heat to taste
Chopped basil or mint
Lemon or orange zest
Substitute orange and red peppadews for the grapes
1. SLICE or chop the grapes. For a sauce with protein, slice the grapes in half. For salsa with chips or crostini, chop coarsely.
2. COMBINE all ingredients in medium bowl; mix well.
3. LET stand at least 1 hour before serving for flavors to meld. Drain excess liquid before serving.
Cheese plate condiment
Grilled cheese, ham, turkey and other sandwiches
Main course sauce (roasted/grilled chicken, fish, pork)
Omelet or scrambled eggs
Salad: spoon over greens with optional blue/goat cheese crumble
Savory cheesecake topping
Turkey or veggie burger
WAYS TO USE GRAPE SALSA
Grapes are good for you. For those avoiding fruit because of the sugar, grapes have a relatively low glycemic index, with GI values ranging between 43 and 53.
1.5 cups have just 90 calories, no fat, and virtually no sodium.
Lots of antioxidants.
An excellent source of vitamins C & K, wit a good supply of other minerals and nutrients.
Healthy carbs: A serving contains 24 grams of good carbs and 1 gram of fiber.
THE HISTORY OF GRAPES
Different wild grape varieties were first cultivated around 6000 B.C.E. near northern Iran, between the Black and Caspian seas.
By 3000 B.C.E. grapes were being cultivated in Egypt and Phoenicia, and by 2000 B.C.E. in Greece.
Viticulture reached Italy, Sicily and North Africa by 1000 B.C.E., and by 500 B.C.E. had spread with the Roman legions to Spain, Portugal and France, and finally across Europe to the British Isles.
America also had wild grape varieties, which were cultivated in of themselves, and joined by cultivars brought from Europe. In the mid-1800s, a Hungarian emigré, Colonel Agoston Haraszthy, brought 100,000 cuttings of Vitis vinifera varieties from Europe to California.
In 1860, English settler William Thompson planted a Mediterranean grape called the Oval Kishmish near Yuba City, north of Sacramento. This popular green grape variety became known as the Thompson Seedless.
In 1970, per capita consumption of grapes in the U.S. was 2.5 pounds. Today, it’s around 8 pounds.