Mulled Muscadines with Fried Crostini and Creamy Goat Cheese

Mulled-Muscadines-Feat

This mulled muscadine appetizer is the dressed up and ready to make a splash at your holiday party. This recipe appears in the "Muscadine Time" episode of A Chef's Life, featuring chef Vivian Howard.

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Cuisine:
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Ingredients

  • 1qt. muscadine pulp
  • 3 cups muscadine hulls (purple grapes will produce a more appealing color)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • zest of 2 lemons (removed with a vegetable peeler)
  • zest of 2 oranges (removed with a vegetable peeler)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • The following ingredients should be tied into a sachet:
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (sliced thin)
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 piece nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 15 black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds

Directions

  1. Using your fingers, pop the muscadine pulp and juice from the hull. Do this over a bowl to make sure you’re not losing any of that sweet nectar. Reserve 3 cups of the hulls. Place the grape pulp into a medium sauce pan and bring that up to a simmer. After about 5 minutes of simmering, you will see the pulp “nucleas” begin to break down. At that point transfer the pulp and juice to a colander with small holes (we call it a china cap). Push the pulp and juice through, leaving the seeds inside the strainer. Discard the seeds. Return the pulp and juice to the sauce pan. Add the hulls and all the remaining ingredients. Bring this up to a simmer and cook covered for about 30 minutes. Remove the rosemary stem and discard the sachet. Get a good taste of the grapes. If they are too tangy for your palate, add a little honey.
  2. To make the best crostini possible
    Cut nice sourdough, ciabatta or baugette style bread into 1 inch thick slices. In a 10 inch saute pan, heat 1/4 cup grapeseed, sunflower, olive or any non-flavored oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add your slices of bread and fry on either side until beautifully golden brown. Season each side liberally with kosher salt. Top it as fast as you can with some super creamy goat or ricotta cheese and a big ole dollop of mulled muscadines. Eat it like it’s going out of style.

Tips/Techniques

Things I like to pair with muscadines: goat cheese, blue cheese, ricotta, pork, smoked meats of any kind (esp. bacon), poultry, cranberries, peanut butter, warm spices like nutmeg, allspice or cinnamon, honey, lemon or lime curd, buttermilk
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