Pistachio and Goat Cheese Grapes

If you need an impressive, yet quick appetizer to serve during the holidays, try these Pistachio and Goat Cheese Grapes. When you bite into one of these delectable morsels, wrapped in creamy goat cheese scented with mint and coated with chopped pistachios, you’ll savor an enticing combination of flavors and textures. The grapes are juicy and sweet, the cheese salty and smooth, and the nuts crunchy with a slight roasted accent. These chic, little starters take only minutes to assemble, hold up beautifully for 2 days in the fridge, and best of all are a hands-down crowd pleaser.

Pistachio and Goat Cheese Grapes

1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) shelled pistachios, salted or unsalted
Scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, optional
6 ounces creamy goat cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped mint plus several sprigs for garnish
20 green seedless grapes, rinsed and patted dry

Place the pistachios in a plastic bag and crush them coarsely with a meat pounder or a rolling pin. If the nuts were not salted, add a scant 1/2 teaspoon salt to the bag and shake to mix. Then spread the nuts on a dinner plate.

1. Place the goat cheese in a medium bowl and with a table fork combine it with the chopped mint.

2. Scoop out about 1/2 tablespoon of the goat cheese mixture and press it evenly over all surfaces of a grape. Then roll the grape for a few seconds in the palms of your hands until the coating is smooth and even. Roll the grape in the pistachio mixture and place it on a large plate. Repeat with the remaining grapes. (The grapes can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring the grapes to room temperature 15 minutes before serving.)

3. When ready to serve, use a sharp knife to halve the grape balls and arrange the halves on a serving tray. Garnish the platter with one or two mint sprigs. Pass a platter of the grapes with small cocktail napkins. Makes 40 servings.

© Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2011

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