How are blueberries like summer? As quickly as they show up, plump and gorgeous and enticing, sending me scrambling for ways to enjoy their deep blue tangy sweetness - yes, just as suddenly, they are gone.
Last week, at the Camas Farmers Market, I picked up a half flat of the last of Meadowglenn Farm's blueberries for this season. At the same time I picked up the recipe sheet from the market’s weekly food demonstration. It included an interesting blueberry salsa that grabbed my attention. For some reason I had never thought of making blueberry salsa before and yet looking at the recipe it seemed sort of obvious. I thought of a small restaurant on the waterfront at the Port of Camas-Washougal where I have eaten several times. At Puffins, a cute little turquoise restaurant on the docks, you can sit outside and watch the boats while you enjoy a wide selection of tropical salsas featuring fruit and other fun Caribbean style food.
Fresh fruit, salsa and chips just screams summer with a no heat approach to preparing something fresh and tasty to snack on. All the heat is in the chile peppers which actually contain capcaicin, a substance that, while spicy, is said to stimulate the body’s natural cooling mechanism among other health benifits. Plus, the spiciness adds a grand counterpoint to the luscious sweetness of sun ripened fresh local berries. I wanted to try this recipe right away.
Early in the week, I collected the rest of the ingredients - fresh ginger, a shallot, cilantro and a serrano pepper- and made the salsa to share at a gathering later that evening. Was it good? It turned out to be fantastic! My tasters, a bit wary at first, asked a number of questions before they dug into the salsa with their tortilla chips. Yet, once they made the plunge, they found that they really enjoyed it’s cool freshness and mild spicy sweetness. I will definitely make this salsa again!
(from a recipe for Teriyaki Pork Chops with Blueberry-Ginger Relish picked up at the Camas Farmers Market)
1 cup fresh blueberries, coarsely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine ingredients in a small bowl and let sit for twenty to thirty minutes for flavors to blend.
Serve with tortilla chips or over grilled meat as a relish.
Note: Luckily fresh blueberries can still be found at the farmer’s markets, from other microclimates in our area. Blueberries and blackberries were abundant at the Vancouver Farmers Market this past weekend.