For any cook – low sodium or not – constant inspiration is essential to keeping your food fresh and fun. And there are two places, in particular, where I know I can always find my cooking muse: the farmer’s market and TV cooking shows.
A few nights ago, while trying to distract myself from the third day of a liquid-only diet, I watched one of the best Iron Chef America shows I had seen in a while. Battle Grape. Now, I had already been introduced to the surprisingly, sweet compliment that grapes can add to savory dishes. Boy had made a creamy, green grape and butter sauce for halibut once before and I had attempted a make a green grape gremolata for sardines as well. But after watching Chef Cat Cora and Chef Holly Smith battle it out on national TV, I realized that I had hardly tapped into the power of this simple, snack food.
In case you want to experience the battle word for word – literally – here is an actual transcript, with commercials included. But if you are in the mood for more of a quick read, I’ll give you the highlights. My four favorite grape adaptations were: (1) fennel, pickled grape, and yellowtail hamachi salad; (2) roasted grape risotto; (3) chard leaves stuffed with sauteed grapes; and (4) white grape gazpacho. Each plate looked gorgeous and delicious. I know these are four recipes that I will, someday, attempt on my own and grape preparations that will find their way into simpler applications as well.
But to leave you with some food for thought, here is a low sodium recipe for white grape gazpacho. Since I have yet to make it myself, I’m thinking some of you readers may get to it before I do. And if you do, send pictures my way (firstname.lastname@example.org) and you might just see your low sodium creation on the pages of this site.
- 2 pounds seedless white grapes, rinsed well
- 1 English cucumber, seeded and chopped
- 4 scallions, green parts only
- 2 ½ cups half & half
- 1 ½ cups crème fraiche
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped fresh dill
- Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2 pieces of toasted, no salt added bread
1. Place grapes, cucumber, scallions, pine nuts, and toasted bread into the food processor and pulse about 10 times.
2. Add the half & half, crème fraiche, vinegar, olive oil, and ½ cup of the dill and blend for 1 minute until smooth.
3. Season with white pepper. Chill thoroughly.
4. Serve in chilled bowls, garnished with the remaining chopped dill and grape halves.