Peeled Grapes with Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds
Note: This is a decadent, albeit labor-intensive, hors d'oeuvre. Find Kyoho grapes, a seeded, Japanese variety similar to Concord, at specialty produce markets.
3 ounces blanched, slivered or sliced almonds
Salt, to taste
1 package Kyoho grapes
1 log chevre
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Roast almonds until golden brown. Season with salt, then let cool to room temperature. Roughly chop almonds and reserve.
3. Remove grapes from stem. Pinch the skin of the grape near the stem end and peel carefully down toward the base. It should strip off. Continue around each grape until fully peeled.
4. Using tweezers and working from the stem end, remove the seeds from the center of the grape. The grapes should look like green to purple jellyfish with a hole where the stem was.
5. Using a spoon or piping bag, fill the grapes with the chevre until they hold a spherical shape.
6. Place the grapes on a plate, hole-side down. Sprinkle with toasted almonds, sherry vinegar and olive oil.
-- Ryan Shelton, Le Cigare Volant, Santa Cruz