Friday, 1 August 2014

Blueberry Balsamic Reduction

A great sauce can go a long way from taking a meal from “okay” to “wow” in short order. When company’s coming, or there’s a special occasion in the household, we don’t necessarily need to go out and spend gobs of money on the main ingredients of the celebration meal. A little spent on a fabulous sauce can turn a plain dinner into a gourmet delight.

We tried this one on a piece of steamed Arctic char. It would be equally as good on haddock or any other firm white fish. We also thought it would be an excellent accompaniment to roast pork loin, pork tenderloin or a nice pork chop.

The sauce can be made ahead and just rewarmed slightly before serving. Fresh or frozen blueberries work in this recipe and leftovers are good in a covered container in the fridge for 5 days. We adapted this from a recipe published in Canadian Living magazine.

·         2 cups blueberries, divided (fresh or frozen)
·         1 cup water
·         1 tsp white sugar
·         Zest of one lemon
·         2 Tbsp finely minced red onion
·         1-1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
·         ¼ cup cold butter (cubed)

1.       Take one cup of the blueberries and put in small saucepan. Add sugar, lemon zest, water and minced red onion.

2.       Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Cook until the blueberries and onion are very soft.

3.       Strain the blueberry mixture through a fine sieve, collecting the liquid that comes off. Using the back of a spoon, squish the blueberries against the strainer to extract as much of the juice as possible. Once they’re drained, discard skins and onion.

4.       Heat blueberry/onion juice until boiling. Reduce heat slightly and allow to cook until volume is approximately ½ the original amount and it is thickened. You can tell if it’s sufficiently thickened if you scrape the bottom of the saucepan with your spoon and the trace mark lets you see the pot bottom for just a moment before the sauce fills it in. Once thickened, take off the heat and set aside
5.       In another saucepan, heat the balsamic vinegar to a boil and allow it to reduce to half its original volume. Be aware this can be a pretty pungent, acid smell that can be a bit uncomfortable to breathe, so open a kitchen window if you can or have the exhaust fan on. The vinegar is reduced when it is thickened like step 4 and you can see the trace on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low

6.       One at a time, add the cubes of butter into the hot vinegar and whisk until the butter is melted and incorporated into the sauce.

7.       Add the blueberry reduction from step 4 and the remaining 1 cup of blueberries. Allow the whole blueberries heat up before serving. 

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