As mentioned just recently, berries are typically memorialized as sweet treats. Sweet these perennial flowering fleshy fruits are, but paired with savory flavors from time to time, the sweetness transforms into a depth of flavor divine.
Over the last year I’ve seen several recipes using the spiciness of freshly ground black pepper paired with the smooth surprising sweet of blueberries. My most favorite recipe in terms of creatively combined berries and more, is a Blueberry Bison Sausage Stuffed Sweet Potato (for breakfast) from Juli at PaleOMG. OMG is right!
I so enjoy the combination of berries with basil myself – and as my imagination wandered amidst the clouds as of late, my flavor ideas and inspirations led me to a delightful display of berry savory salads of sort.
Asparagus and Mushrooms with Savory Blueberries
2 pints fresh blueberries, plus additional for garnish
¾ c. extra virgin olive oil
¼ c. red wine vinegar
1 small red onion, diced
2 c. wild mushrooms, trimmed and cleaned
1 c. steamed asparagus
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
¼ c. Marcona almonds, toasted
¼ c. crumbled bleu cheese (optional)
Fresh lemon zest
In a large saucepan, stir together blueberries, olive oil, vinegar, and red onion. Place over low-medium heat to bring to a simmer. Stir in the mushrooms and heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mushrooms are heated through. Continue to simmer until blueberries begin to release their pectin, and the sauce reduces and begins to thicken.
In a large bowl, toss asparagus with the warm dressing and salt and pepper. Sprinkle with almonds, cheese and lemon zest before serving.
Grilled Chicken Salad with Blackberry Chipotle Dressing
1 lb. grilled organic chicken, sliced or diced
4 c. baby spinach leaves or other mixed greens
¾ c. jicama, julienned
½ c. green onion, finely chopped
½ c. raw pistachios, shelled
1 Tbs. coconut oil
¼ c. diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
12 oz. fresh blackberries
½ c. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
½ c. honey
1 tsp. sea salt
3 Tbs. cilantro, chopped
Over medium-high heat, sauté onion and garlic in coconut oil. Once caramelized, reduce heat to a simmer. Add chipotle chili, blackberries, and vinegar. Break down blackberries until mostly smooth with the back of a fork, still leaving a small semblance of the “berry.” Simmer for 7-10 minutes, reducing to a thick sauce. Remove from heat. Whisk in olive oil, honey, and salt. Allow to cool. Toss with salad ingredients and top with chopped cilantro.
Life should be about fun and experimentation. Have fun, go crazy, and enjoy this berry good life!