Saturday, August 30, 2014

Blackberry Mania - From Storing Tips to Recipes for Savory Blackberry Sauce and Blackberry Brandy

It's blackberry season! Chef Erin shares tips for storing fresh blackberries as well as a couple of her favorite recipes.

Okay, as cheesy as this sounds, blackberry brandy makes me oddly nostalgic for my "childhood." I grew up in Wisconsin and it's sad to admit but we country kids started drinking pretty early. Blackberry brandy was the drink of choice for many of the teenage girls I knew. (I was a sloe gin drinker, myself. Good God!) Anyway, with the plethora of wild blackberries in the Pacific Northwest, I'm always looking for ways to use them up. So an homage to my high school girlfriends seemed like a natural! (This is for you Suzi, Tammy, Heidi, Kim and Lisa - you know who you are!)

On a grown up note, I also love making a savory sweet sauce for salmon, duck or pork so I've included that recipe too. Plus, I think you should try some blackberries in your next lemon or almond cake. To die for!

Savory Blackberry Sauce
for Salmon, Duck or Pork 
Serves 4

2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder
pinch of white pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold
1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Simmer the blackberries, sugar and water in a saucepan until the berries are soft and starting to fall apart (about 5 minutes).Take off the burner and put the blackberries into a sieve. Use a wooden spoon or rubber scraper to push the berries through until you have extracted all the liquid. Discard the residue.

Put the liquid back into the saucepan and bring to heat. Whisk in the lemon juice, cornstarch or arrowroot, and white pepper. Heat until it begins to thicken slightly.

Remove from heat and whisk in butter and a dash of red wine vinegar. Add a little salt, if desired.

Spoon over roasted or grilled salmon and it's also wonderful on duck breast or pork tenderloin.

Blackberry Brandy

2 cups fresh, crushed blackberries
1 cup sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups brandy, divided

Add sugar to boiling water and stir until dissolved. Gently crush the blackberries. Using your hands is fine! Pour the sugar water over the crushed berries.

Pour the mixture into a glass jar, add 1 cup brandy and seal the jar and shake gently. Place the jar in a cool, dark cupboard for 1 week. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve or cheese cloth. Add the second cup of brandy.

Sip on it's own or blend with vanilla ice cream for a decadent smoothie!

Don't forget to join me for a cooking class the next time you are in Seattle!

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