Photograph by Patricia Heal Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Beverley Hyde


The Grapes of Wrath Crostini

Amuse-Bouche from Issue 10 – Winter 2017 – Sin

“I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this,” said John Steinbeck of the passion and fury that inspired him to write 1939’s The Grapes of Wrath, a chronicle of the plight of the Joads, a family of refugees from Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl on a journey to the promised land of California at the height of the Depression. Steinbeck’s novel, a masterful act of protest exposing sharp class divides and social injustices, manages to feel just as relevant today. Our crostini, charred and topped with a mostarda of juicy grapes simmered into submission, is our own homage.

makes about 1½ cups

  • 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 lb (3 cups) black or red seedless grapes
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • bread for toasting
  • creamy goat cheese (or, for something less wrathful, ricotta)
  • goji powder (optional)

  • 1

    Toast mustard seeds in a dry, medium saucepan, swirling pan over medium heat until just fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add grapes, vinegar, sugar, shallot, mustard powder, ¼ tsp black pepper, and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until grapes are starting to collapse and liquid is slightly thickened, about 40 minutes. Cool.

  • 2

    Serve over charred toast spread with cheese. Lightly dust with goji powder if using.

    Note: Mostarda can keep refrigerated for 10 days.