Grapes are one of this season’s perks.

Sweet and juicy, they not only taste good but many studies have revealed that grapes have many health benefits as well. For example, the antioxidants contained in the fruit may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

One of the bigger brands of grapes in Israel is Tali, owned by 66 private growers in the Lachish region. There are many different species sold under the Tali brand, all grown under very strict international standards, with an emphasis on environmental issues.

To celebrate the season of grapes, we asked chef Sahar Rephael to send us a few recipes that may help you think of creative ways to incorporate grapes into your cooking, and not just in desserts.

GRAPE GAZPACHO
Makes about 4


Cold and tangy, this is a gazpacho that you have never tasted before.

✔ 300 gr. frozen grapes
✔ 2 celery sticks
✔ Salt and pepper
✔ 1 red onion, chopped
✔ Handful coriander leaves
✔ 1 peeled lemon
✔ Handful mint leaves

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and beat for 4-5 minutes. Pour into wine glasses and garnish with mint leaves and crushed ice.

MOZZARELLA AND GRAPE SALAD

✔ 500 gr. grapes – green and red
✔ Handful coriander leaves
✔ 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
✔ 10 small fresh mozzarella cheese balls
✔ Salad greens (baby leaf mix)

For the vinaigrette:
✔ 1⁄2 lemon
✔ 2 Tbsp. honey
✔ 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
✔ 1⁄2 cup parsley leaves
✔ 1⁄2 cup coriander leaves
✔ 3 cloves garlic
✔ 2 thyme sprigs, leaves only
✔ 1⁄4 cup orange juice
✔ 1⁄2 cup olive oil

To prepare vinaigrette:
Place lemon, honey, mustard, parsley, coriander, thyme and garlic in a blender and beat. Alternate pouring in the oil and juice until smooth.

Place a handful of salad greens in a bowl, add all the rest of the salad ingredients, pour a little of the vinaigrette in, toss and taste. Add more according to taste.

Leftover vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

AMBERJACK CEVICHE WITH BASIL AND GOAT CHEESE

✔ 200 gr. amberjack fish (called intias in Israel), bones and skin removed
✔ Handful basil leaves
✔ About 15 halved purple and green grapes
✔ 1⁄4 cup olive oil
✔ Juice of 1 lemon
✔ Coarse salt
✔ Ground black pepper
✔ 1 roll goat cheese
✔ 1⁄4 cup goat yogurt
✔ 2 radishes, thinly sliced

Mix yogurt and cheese until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper and keep refrigerated.

Cut fish into small bite-size pieces. Season with salt and pepper and place in a bowl. Add olive oil and lemon juice and mix well. Add sliced radish and basil leaves and toss.

To serve: Place a spoonful of the cheese mix on a plate and heap the ceviche next to it.

SALMON FILLET IN CHAMPAGNE SAUCE
Makes 2


This is a very romantic dish that takes some effort but is worth the investment.

Use the best sparkling wine you can afford.

While you cook, pour yourself and your loved one a glass as well. Serve with boiled potatoes or white rice.

✔ 240 gr. salmon, cut into 2 fillets
✔ Handful dark raisins
✔ 1⁄2 cup Muscat grapes
✔ 1 glass champagne or cava
✔ 2 Tbsp. good-quality balsamic vinegar
✔ Coarse salt
✔ Ground black pepper
✔ 1 sprig sage
✔ 100 gr. butter
✔ 1⁄4 cup cooking cream Season the fish with salt and pepper.

Melt butter in a skillet. Place fish, skin side down, in the pan and cook for 3 minutes. Turn over, add raisins and grapes and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Add sage leaves and wine, cook 2-3 more minutes, until liquid is reduced. Add cream and season to taste.

Serve in deep soup plates with sauce and grapes on top.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH STUFFED WITH LAMB AND GRAPES
Makes 4


✔ 4 butternut squashes, seeded
✔ 1⁄2 kg. minced lamb
✔ 250 gr. seedless grapes
✔ 2 Tbsp. pine nuts
✔ 3 Tbsp. silan
✔ 1⁄4 cup olive oil
✔ 1 onion, chopped
✔ Salt and pepper
✔ 3 cloves garlic, minced
✔ 1⁄2 Tbsp. baharat
✔ 1 tsp. hawayij
✔ 1 liter vegetable or meat stock
✔ 1 basket champignon mushrooms, quartered

Heat the oven to 180º. Brush the squash with oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, sauté the onion in a frying pan until golden. Add the meat and cook until done. Add garlic, grapes, baharat and hawayij and 1⁄2 cup of the stock.

Cook about 20 minutes.

Remove squash from oven. Do not switch off oven. Let cool a few minutes.

Stuff the squash with the lamb mixture; sprinkle the pine nuts on top. Arrange the stuffed squash in a baking dish, add the mushrooms, mix the silan in the stock and pour over the squash. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve with the gravy.

Recipes and photos courtesy of Tali Grapes, Lachish.

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