The Easter celebrations are a sugary memory and here in Oregon we actually saw some lovely spring weather for the festivities. It was a great day for the egg hunt in our small, rural town and the glorious potluck that followed, with sunny skies and warm temperatures that lured us outside. Ham with a Marionberry BBQ sauce glaze got rave reviews from all and made me start thinking about more sunny days ahead and some fun new ways to use Oregon berries in dishes made for eating at impromptu gatherings outdoors.
I was lucky enough several years ago to attend the American Culinary Federation meeting when it was held in Seattle. This is my idea of heaven; lots of chefs and foodies meeting in one of the foremost restaurant locations in the US! While at the meeting I gave a talk on Oregon berries for the chefs and worked with a chef from the ACF who prepared some wonderful dishes that were handed out as I spoke. One of those recipes came to mind when I was dreaming of more spring and summer days with friends and family gathered on our deck, the sweet scent of the BBQ grill mixed with freshly mown grass in the air.
The recipe is so simple and easy but so sophisticated and fun that you will want to make a batch and keep it on hand for all sorts of occasions—it’s Blackberry Ketchup! That’s right; don’t laugh; you can make ketchup out of any fruit, not just tomato (which is technically a fruit but commonly thought of as a veggie!). Make this ketchup with Marionberries, blackberries, or even red or black raspberries. They will all work and produce a gourmet-worthy condiment. You will be looking for new ways to use because it is so good. Yes, you can still dunk your fries in this savory, vinegary concoction but it takes things like meat loaf to a new high. Think battered and fried green beans to dip, or an asparagus/bacon/blue cheese omelet with a little on the side. Get creative; think beyond the bun and you will find great ways to use this wonderful condiment.
Remember Think Spring!