Sweet or Savory, Blueberry Topping Goes Both Ways

 Blueberries just might be my favorite summer berry. When I was growing up, I enjoyed the blueberry pies my grandma made. I’ve never been able to recreate that delicious pie. And, for that reason, I come up with all sorts of ways, other than in pie, to enjoy the plump blueberries of summer.

I think it was four summers ago, at about this time, that I went on my first camping/canoe trip at Lake of the Woods. A friend, who was also on the trip, sent me a recipe for a blueberry relish sometime before we were scheduled to take off. I made the relish for her and brought it to Laketrails Base Camp on Oak Island in Lake of the Woods in the Northwest Angle of Minnesota, our starting point. Our fellow paddlers enjoyed the savory blueberry topping with goat cheese on toasted slices of baguette as a start to our meal the night before the big adventure trip under a full moon. There were times on our week-long adventure that we wished we would have had more of that snack.

Today I made the Blueberry Topping again for the first time since that canoe trip under the full moon. Blueberries and red grapes are a great combination, both sweet and juicy with exquisite depth of flavor. I wouldn’t tamper with that combo at all. I did make a few changes to the recipe, adding a shallot and some lime zest. It was so good topping a very creamy goat brie on crunchy slices of toasted baguette. We also tried it with some mascarpone and decided it was like eating dessert. The remaining Sweet Savory Blueberry Topping  will get a new look ladled over premium vanilla ice cream. The sauce keeps well for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. I would love to try some over a traditional creamy cheesecake.

I’ll be making another batch of this topping, using minced jalapeno pepper and cilantro to replace the ginger and rosemary. I can just imagine how tasty it would be spooned over a brick of cream cheese and served with crackers.

It’s easy to pack up everything you need to serve this delightful appetizer or snack at a picnic. Just scoop Sweet Savory Blueberry Topping into a large jar with a tight-fitting lid and put it in the cooler with some goat cheese, cream cheese or mascarpone cheese. Slice up a baguette and toast the slices under the broiler. Transport them in a zip-top plastic bag or a cookie tin.

Blueberries sweet and blueberries savory — always a treat.

Sweet Savory Blueberry Topping

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh gingerroot
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed
  • 2 cups red seedless grapes, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  •  1 (3-inch) strip lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 baguette, into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • Olive oil for toasting baguette slices
  • Goat cheese, cream cheese or mascarpone cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add minced shallot and saute until tender, but not brown. Stir in minced gingerroot, blueberries, grapes, sugar, red wine vinegar, lime zest and rosemary. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large glass bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature. Cover bowl tightly and refrigerate. At this point, topping can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Brush both sides of bread slices with olive oil. Place on large baking sheet. Slide under broiler. When brown on one side, turn slices of bread and brown on the other side.

To serve, set out cheese of choice, toasted baguette slices and Sweet Savory Blueberry Topping.

 

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