Celebrity chef, cook book author, and host of the Food Network show The Kitchen, Marcela Valladolid joined forces with the California Table Grape Commission to bring a bright flavorful twist to some traditional Mexican meals. As a lover of fruit and Mexican food separately, I must say I never thought the two would ever enter into holy matrimony. How could something so light and sweet beautifully join together with something so rich and savory, I asked? This week Chef Marcela not only showed me how the two join together so well, she made me a believer. Now I see how fresh grapes can be used as an exciting, and texturally crisp alternative to tomatoes, sure to wake up your favorite appetizer, sandwich, taco or entree.
Chef Marcela prepared delightful Grilled Salmon Tacos with Grape Pico de Gallo, which was a vibrant and healthy twist to traditional fish tacos; a Southern California favorite typically prepared with fried fish, cabbage, and a cream sauce. As a big fan of traditional fish tacos, I am an even bigger fan of Chef Marcela’s rendition. It showed me that using grilled fish and fresh ingredients doesn’t mean you have to comprise on flavor. The Grilled Salmon Tacos were a great introduction to cooking with grapes. It was also the perfect segue into more mouthwatering dishes and two cocktails; all made with fresh green, black or red California grapes. The Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Grape Skewers were beautifully presented, perfectly seasoned and I just could not stop eating them. The Banh Mi-style Flatbread with California Grapes was amazingly delicious, and the Tostadas with Grape and Jicama Salsa, and Grilled Antipasto Skewers featuring grilled shrimp were also crowd pleasers.
The perfect accompaniment for a great meal is an equally great beverage, and these grape based beverages did not disappoint. The Black Grape Margarita had the perfect balance of natural sweetness and freshness that no syrup based cocktail could ever duplicate; and the beautifully delicate Rosemary Grape Martini will have you thirsting for more.
The recipes for these dishes and cocktails are easy to follow and great for everything from a date night, entertaining, or for a weeknight family dinner. Each and every one of these dishes is sure to please your taste buds and make your body very happy.
There are over 80 varieties of grapes, and endless ways to use them. I encourage you to try these fresh and delicious recipes today. The next time you do your grocery shopping buy an extra bag of grapes. Wash them, freeze them and you will have a great low calorie frozen treat, or a nifty way to add coolness and flavor to your favorite beverage.
Multi Cultural Cooking Network… Giving you a taste of world… and inspiring you to Eat.More.Grapes.
Written by Lamou Keita