I saw and really enjoyed this movie when it came out. It's a dark fantasy, gorgeously filmed by the amazing Guillermo del Toro with story fairy tale influences. The film is set in post-Civil War Spain in 1944 where a young girl (Ofelia) accompanies her pregnant mother to live with her new stepfather, a captain in the military. Ofelia lives in a bit of a fantasy world, always reading fairy tales and she has a vivid imagination. When she comes across a large stick insect she believes it is a fairy and follows it into the labyrinth by her new home. There she meets a faun who tells her she is the reincarnation of a princess and assigns her three tasks to complete to become immortal. I don't want to give a lot of details beyond that because if you have not seen this film you should--it's beautiful, dark and creepy and well worth seeking out.
This time I watched the movie for the food and there was actually a fair amount of food to be found. Some that I wrote down included; rabbits for a stew, burnt coffee, mentions of beef, chicken and pigs and beans and vegetables. There was milk with honey, rations of flour, salt, olive oil, olives and bacon, a fig tree, platters of vegetables and potatoes, tea made from mandrake root, bread and milk, and finally a large and sumptuous banquet table filled with platters of food including gorgeous dark red fruits like grapes, currants, and pomegranates.
It was from this banquet at the underground lair of the (very creepy) Pale Man that I took my inspiration. Ofelia is tasked with removing a dagger there and is warned not to eat any food she encounters, but she cannot resist eating two large grapes which wakes up the Pale Man--definitely not a good thing!
I wanted to make a tapas dish with grapes and pair it with my favorite Spanish cheese which happens to be Manchego. A few years ago I made Baked Wine and Spice Grapes for another Food 'n Flix film; The Good Year and I liked how baking the grapes brought out their sweetness and flavor. This time I decided to sauté my grapes in olive oil and thyme to serve with the Manchego on slices of grilled baguette. Simple and delicious!
Sautéed Grapes with Thyme and Manchego on Grilled Bread
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 4 as Appetizer)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups sweet red seedless grapes, halved
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
tiny pinch sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
French baguette, thinly sliced, brushed with olive oil & grilled until lightly browned
wedge of Manchego cheese, thinly sliced
Heat olive oil in a medium pan, over medium heat. Add grapes and thyme and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring until grapes are heated through, softened slightly and are releasing their juices. (You want them slightly soft but not mushy.) Add a tiny pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Transfer grapes to a serving dish, along with the liquid in the pan.
Serve grapes warm, along with thinly sliced manchego cheese and grilled baguette slices. Make sure to drizzle a bit of the extra olive oil and grape juice liquids on top . Enjoy!
Notes/Results: Such a simple appetizer but so delicious! The combination of the sweet grapes, thyme and the caramel and nutty flavors of the Manchego all work so well together. Using just a tiny pinch of salt enhances the taste of the grapes and the black pepper gives them that little something extra. Since the grapes are warm, they soften the cheese a bit, making them a pleasure to eat--especially when all of the liquids released by the grapes, along with the olive oil, gets drizzled on top. If you can't get manchego, this would work with most any cheese you would pair with grapes--I'd try it with a Gruyere or maybe a tangy goat cheese or even a Spanish blue cheese like Cabrales. A definite new favorite for me and likely to end up at the next party I host or go to--I will happily make them again.
I'm linking this post up to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.
The deadline for this round of Food 'n Flix is today, Tuesday, February 28th and Katharina will be rounding up all the dishes on her blog. If you missed this round and like food, films and foodie films, join us for March when the film pick is The Martian, hosted by Wendy at A Day in the Life of the Farm.