We’ve scoured the nation for recipes that evoke each of the 50 states (and D.C. and Puerto Rico). These are our picks for the feast. Dig in, then tell us yours.
This grape salad, which falls into the same category of old-fashioned party dishes as molded Jell-O salad, comes from a Minnesota-born heiress, who tells me it was always part of the Thanksgiving Holiday buffet in her family. It couldn’t be simpler to prepare and has only three ingredients: grapes, sour cream and brown sugar.
Rather like a creamy fruit salad with a crisp sugar topping, it really is delicious, though the concept sounded strange to me before I first tasted it. Other versions, I hear, call for softened cream cheese and nondairy “whipped topping”; I can’t say I’ll be trying that. Some cooks caramelize the brown sugar under the broiler and some don’t, but I definitely recommend this step, which gives the dish a crème brûlée aura.
30 minutes, plus at least 1 hour chilling time
2 pounds seedless grapes, removed from stems and rinsed, about 6 cups
2 cups sour cream
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup toasted pecans (optional)
1. Heat broiler. Put grapes in a large mixing bowl. Add sour cream and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, making sure all grapes are well coated.
2. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart ceramic soufflé dish or other baking dish. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over top. Place dish under broiler as far from heat source as possible and broil until sugar is caramelized and crispy, about 5 minutes (be vigilant or you’ll risk a burnt black topping). Rotate dish as necessary for even browning. Chill for at least one hour. May be prepared up to 24 hours ahead. Just before serving, sprinkle with toasted pecans, if using.
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