Small summer berries pack a big punch

Blueberries may be little but they add a burst of flavor to savory dishes as well as seasonal sweet treats

    Summertime is berry time. While strawberries and raspberries often take the spotlight, blueberries are just as tasty and enjoyable.
    Blueberries, often combined with these other berries, are generally thought of as a sweet treat — think blueberry muffins and pies.
    They’re also often looked at as a flavorful element in jellies and jams.
    But blueberries are also used in a variety of savory foods. They pair well with pork, chicken and fish, and they bring plenty of flavor to a summer salad.
    The berries may be small in size, but they’re chock full of nutrition. They’re considered a superfood, an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins C and K, manganese, iron and antioxidants, and have only 83 calories in 3.5 ounces.
    The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of blueberries. Enjoy them now when they’re fresh or freeze them to enjoy year-round. To freeze them, place unwashed berries in a sealable freezer bag and stick them in the freezer. They thaw in minutes.
    An easy way to enjoy blueberries is in a smoothie. Freeze the berries and other ingredients — except maybe the yogurt — in individual-sized bags to save a few minutes in the morning. To make a delicious smoothie, combine 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, five frozen strawberries, a banana, two tablespoons honey and one cup plain yogurt and blend until smooth.
    Following are recipes for sweet and savory dishes from epicurious.com.

 

epicurous.com

Blueberry Croissant French Toast

1 cup half and half
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brandy
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons blueberry preserves
4 croissants, cut horizontally in half
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2-1/2-pints fresh blueberries
Maple syrup

    Combine half and half, eggs, sugar, brandy, cinnamon and salt in a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Whisk to blend well.
    Spread two tablespoons preserves on each of four croissant halves. Top each with a plain croissant half, pressing to adhere. Place croissants in custard and turn to coat. Let soak about 30 minutes, until custard is absorbed, turning and basting often.
    Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add croissants and sauté five minutes per side, until cooked through and browned.
    Transfer croissants to plates. Place blueberries in the skillet and sauté about three minutes, until heated through. Spoon berries over croissants. Serve with maple syrup.
    Makes four servings.

 

Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp With Pistachio Crust

1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 pound rhubarb
2 cups blueberries
For topping:
1/3 cup shelled natural pistachios
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

    In a bowl, stir together sugar and flour. Trim rhubarb and cut enough stalks into 1/2-inch pieces to measure two cups. Add rhubarb and blueberries to sugar mixture, tossing well. Spread in a buttered two-quart shallow baking dish.
    Finely chop pistachios.
    In a bowl, whisk together flour and sugars. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes and with a pastry blender or your fingers cut into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add pistachios and toss well.
    Squeeze a handful of topping together and coarsely crumble in chunks over filling. Squeeze and evenly crumble remaining topping over filling in same manner. Bake in the upper third of 375-degree oven for about 50 minutes, until filling is bubbling and topping is crisp and golden.
    Serve warm or at room temperature.
    Serves six to eight servings.

 

Berry Rose Sangria

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup crème de cassis
1-1/2 cups assorted berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries
1 750-milliliter bottle chilled dry rosé wine
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste

    Put berries into a heatproof pitcher. Bring sugar, water and crème de cassis just to a simmer in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour syrup into pitcher and let stand five minutes.
    Add wine and lemon juice and stir mixture well. Chill, covered, until ready to serve. Serve over ice.
    Sangria keeps, chilled and covered, as long as three days.
    Makes six to eight drinks.

 

Phyllo Flowers With Sorbet and Blueberries

8 9-by-14-inch sheets phyllo dough, thawed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
12 ounces frozen blueberries, thawed
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Pinch nutmeg
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 pint raspberry sorbet

    Brush 1 sheet phyllo lightly with butter and sprinkle a pinch of sugar around border. Gather edges and place in muffin pan cup, lining the bottom and sides. Repeat with remaining sheets. Bake in a 350-degree oven for seven to eight minutes, until crisp. Let rest in pan two to three minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool.
    In a saucepan, boil thawed blueberries, cornstarch, remaining sugar and nutmeg. Cook five minutes, until syrupy, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, mash berries lightly and cool 15 minutes. Stir in fresh berries.
    Fill each cup with 1/4 cup sorbet and top with berry mixture.
    Makes eight servings.

 

Baked Oatmeal With Blueberries

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup natural cane sugar or maple syrup, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1-1/2 cups blueberries or mixed berries

    In a bowl, mix together oats, half the walnuts, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
    In another bowl, whisk together maple syrup, milk, egg, half the butter and vanilla.
    Arrange bananas in a single layer in the bottom of a generously buttered 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle two-thirds of the berries over the top. Cover fruit with the oat mixture, then slowly drizzle milk mixture over the oats.
    Gently slam the baking dish against the countertop a couple of times. Scatter remaining berries and walnuts across the top.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven and cool a few minutes. Drizzle remaining melted butter on top and serve, Sprinkling it with a bit more sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup if desired.
    Makes six servings.

Fresh Blueberry Brioche

1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
6-1/2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
Egg wash

    Place blueberries on a plate and freeze in a single layer. Do not use frozen blueberries as they are too watery.
    Slightly warm milk and pour into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment. Add yeast and whisk by hand to combine. Add flour, bread flour, 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar, salt, eggs and egg yolk and mix on low speed for one to two minutes, until dough comes together.
    Increase mixer speed to medium-low and work dough for six minutes, pausing every minute to push dough back down and off the hook until it pulls off the bowl sides and looks like a strong bread dough.
    Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add butter over the course of two minutes, pausing after one minute to scrape down bowl and hook. When butter begins to blend in, increase mixer speed to medium-high and mix five to six minutes to fully incorporate butter and bring the dough back together.
    Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and press into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle with a short side nearest you. Distribute blueberries and two tablespoons sugar along the top edge and gently roll into a log.
    Place on a greased baking sheet, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour to overnight.
    Reshape dough, pressing it into a 12-by-6-inch rectangle. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and tightly roll. Place into a greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, loosely wrap in plastic and allow to rise in a warm place about three hours, until more than doubled in size.
    Carefully brush dough with egg wash, making sure egg doesn’t pool around the edges. Liberally sprinkle with sugar. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool about 15 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack.

 

Chipotle Pork Loin With Blueberry-Kiwi Salsa

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
1 pint blueberries, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon paprika or chipotle chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-pound center-cut pork loin
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, plus more for the grill

    Combine kiwis, blueberries, cilantro, onion and vinegar in a large bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and toss well. Set aside.
    Place paprika or chipotle chile powder on a plate along with the turmeric, cumin, remaining salt and black pepper. Roll pork loin in the spice mixture to coat. Drizzle with oil.
    Grease a 400-degree grill with grapeseed oil. Adjust the flame setting to medium to medium-low. Place pork on the grill and cook 20 to 25 minutes, turning often, until no longer translucent inside and thermometer registers 145 degrees. Let rest five minutes before slicing, then serve with the salsa.
    If roasting the meat, place pork in a 7-by-11–inch baking dish and roast, uncovered, on the lower rack of a 400-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until it registers 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Let rest for five minutes before slicing, then serve with the salsa.
    Makes six servings.

 

Blueberry Lime and Cashew Smoothies

2 Medjool dates, pitted
2 cups coconut water
1 cup cashews
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/3 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon. fresh lime juice
Large pinch of kosher salt

    Purée dates, coconut water, cashews, blueberries, yogurt, lime juice, salt and two cups ice in a blender until smooth.
    Makes four servings.

 

Glazed Blueberry-Blackberry Turnovers

3/4 cup fresh blueberries
3/4 cup fresh, halved blackberries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons flour, plus more for surface
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 disk  pie dough
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Toss blueberries, blackberries, sugar, ginger, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and two tablespoons flour in a medium bowl.
    Beat egg and heavy cream in a small bowl until no streaks remain. Roll pie dough into a 15-by-10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Cut a thin border around dough to square the edges. Cut dough in half lengthwise and then in thirds crosswise to form six five-inch squares. Brush edges with egg mixture, then mound about 1/4 cup blueberry filling in one corner of each square. Working with one square at a time, fold the corner opposite the filling up and over to create a triangle. Press edges with a fork to seal. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with remaining egg mixture. Cut about a one-inch-long slit in the center of each turnover.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until pastry is golden brown and juices run from slits. Let cool on baking sheet until slightly warm.
    Whisk powdered sugar, vanilla and remaining salt in large wide bowl. Whisking constantly, add warm water, a tablespoonful at a time, until glaze is thick and smooth and falls off the whisk in a slowly dissolving ribbon.
    Dip top of each turnovers into glaze, letting excess drip back into bowl. Transfer to a wire rack and let sit about 30 minutes, until turnovers are cool and glaze is set.
    Makes six turnovers.

 

Blueberry Pecan Galette

For dough:
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
For filling and assembly:
12 ounces blueberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
Flour for surface
2 tablespoons milk, half-and-half or heavy cream

    Place pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing once, until fragrant and slightly darkened. Cool, then pulse in a food processor until the consistency of coarse meal. Add flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon and pulse just to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces remaining.
    Transfer mixture to a large bowl, drizzle with four tablespoons ice water and mix, adding another tablespoonful of water if needed, just until mixture comes together. Gently pat dough into a six-inch-diameter disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least one hour.
    Toss blueberries, cornstarch, lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl.
    Roll dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Carefully transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Mound blueberries in center of dough, leaving a two-inch border. Fold edges up onto filling, overlapping slightly. Brush dough with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until crust is dark golden brown and filling is bubbling. Let cool before serving.
    Galette can be baked one day ahead and stored, tightly wrapped, at room temperature.
    Makes 10 servings.

 

Blueberry and Corn Crisp

For filling:
5 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For topping and assembly:
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup coarse-grind cornmeal or polenta
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup fresh corn kernels

    Toss blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt in a shallow two-quart baking dish.
    Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a medium bowl to combine. Using your hands, work butter into dry ingredients until no dry spots remain and mixture holds together when squeezed. Add corn and toss to evenly distribute. Press topping between your fingers and break into large pieces over the filling.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until topping is golden brown and juices are thick and bubbling. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 30 minutes before serving.
    Crisp can be made one day ahead. Store tightly covered at room temperature.
    Makes eight servings.

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