Season of the Witch Finger Grape

Witch Finger Grapes
I've had a hankering for chicken salad with onions, walnuts and grapes. Served chilled, it's one of my favorite summer salads. A dash of cinnamon and thyme adds layers of taste. It's great served with popovers or even muffins.

I ran across these odd-shaped grapes at the supermarket yesterday and the sample I tried from the woman who was promoting them was juicy and sweet - and seedless.

These elongated grapes are hybrids, as you've probably guessed, a hand-pollinated marriage of American cultivar developed by the University of Arkansas Division Of Agriculture and a Mediterranean variety. They are grown in Bakersfield, Cal., and sold at farm markets in California and distributed to supermarkets nationwide. That didn't stop me from buying them: I eat local about 75 percent of the time in summer, anyway. And this hasn't been the best growing season, as local farmers will tell you. Plus, you can't find grapes at local farm markets.

Speaking of summer, apparently that's the only time you can buy Witch's Finger grapes. Too bad, because they would be a healthy treat for a kids' Halloween party, given their resemblance to an old hag's wizened claw.

Here's how I used mine:
  • 1 chilled roasted chicken breast, white meat cut into chunks
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 2 cups Witch's Finger, or other seedless red grape
  • 1 Tablespoon green pepper, minced
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or Tablespoon fresh, chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Combine chicken, onion and grapes. Add mayo and walnuts. Blend. Add seasonings. Serves two.

You can substitute any kind of seedless grape, red or green, and almonds instead of walnuts. Optional additions include celery, chevre, or even blue cheese.


Katie Zeller said…
What a bizarre grape.... I wish we could get seedless grapes. I'm a wimp and don't like the seeds - so I eat them when I walk the dogs so I can spit them out like a true French person. LOL
M.D. Johns said…
Very bizarre grape. I prefer the round ones. But these were on sale and the taste is fine.

They'd be a great snack for kids.

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