Big, fat blackberries — not too sweet, but plump and delicious. I love them. I love purple tongues and stained fingers.
When Sarah and I decided on blackberries for this month’s Delicious/Nutritious, I immediately thought of blackberry compound butter. I like to make it and keep it for putting on pancakes, waffles, toast — you name it. But that didn’t seem like enough to do the blackberry justice.
I like to eat them just plain or put them on top of ice cream or with whipped cream and peaches, but none of those really count as a “recipe,” do they?
I had never tried blackberries with meat, though I often love the combination of sweet and savory and thought it might just work in this case, especially because blackberries aren’t as sweet as other berries.
I’m nuts for fresh ginger these days, so obviously I was going to work that into this sauce.
A sweet, gingery sauce seemed best on chicken or pork, and I just happened to have some thawed chicken tenders in the refrigerator that needed to be used, so I decided on a satay with a sauce — it makes for easy grilling and nice presentation.
Chicken Satay with Blackberry-Ginger Sauce
8 chicken tenders
1/2 cup blackberry preserves
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
3/4 cup fresh blackberries
1/2 cup soy sauce plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Cracked black pepper
Soak eight bamboo skewers for 15 minutes, then thread the chicken onto them, one tender per skewer. Place them in a casserole dish and drizzle the two tablespoons of soy sauce over. Dust with garlic powder and cracked black pepper.
Grill over medium heat for about four minutes per side until cooked through.
Meanwhile, make your sauce. Combine the preserves, ginger, soy sauce, lemon juice and sesame oil in a small saucepan and heat through. Add the fresh blackberries and warm through, stirring occasionally.
Drizzle the sauce over the chicken on a platter and serve remaining sauce in a bowl on the side.
So delicious! And this one is even healthy. It seems unlikely for something this delicious and even decadent to be good for us, but this dish manages to do both, beautifully.
Oh, blackberries, how I underestimated you for so long.
I really do need to apologize to these little beauties, because for nearly forever, I really only thought of them as an ingredient in mixed fruit. You know, the kind you see on a salad bar: blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. They seemed big and cumbersome and not so sweet next to other fruits, and I kind of didn’t care if they were mixed in or not.
But the summer after we moved back to the area, I spotted my first local blackberries at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market. That might have been the very first time I’d ever seen them without their trusty companions: blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. And they looked … beautiful. Juicy and tender and just so mouth-watering.
I had to get them.
And the rest is history for us. Now, blackberries are so popular in my family that we actually put in three bushes this year in hopes of enjoying our own right from the source in a few years (and maybe this year, if we’re lucky!).
But, like most fruit, we tend to eat blackberries by the handful rather than saving them for “actual cooking.” That said, they work very well with one of our other house favorites: chia pudding. I’m fairly certain I’ve mentioned chia before in this space, but if you’re a newbie: Yes, they’re the same seeds from those old ’80s commercials. And yes, they’re edible.
In fact, they’re incredibly good for you because they contain large amounts of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. They also happen to contain tons of fiber, which allows them to rapidly grow in size when wet, meaning they make the fabulous base for a pudding. Sounds weird, tastes great, especially when covered in blackberries and blueberries.
Vanilla Chia Pudding with Blackberries and Blueberries
5 tablespoons chia seeds
5 medjool dates, soaked 15 minutes if hard
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 1 hour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup water
6 ounces blackberries
1 pint blueberries
Place chia seeds in a medium-sized bowl. In a blender, combine all other ingredients and blend until smooth. Poor contents of the blender over the chia seeds and combine well. Let sit five minutes on the counter and then stir again. Repeat. Repeat one last time once a thick pudding has formed. Serve with as many blackberries and blueberries as desired. Serves 4.