Trending for later 2013 and 2014 are the pickled fruits. Served over pound cake with whipped cream or as a topping in grilled game meat. They make a perfect holiday gift idea as well, so get those trendy mason jars and pickle up!
- 8 black peppercorns
- 3 allspice berries
- 2 juniper berries
- One 1/2-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 small bay leaf
- 2 cups red wine vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 shallot, quartered lengthwise
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 18 ounces blackberries
1. In a mortar, lightly crush the peppercorns with the allspice, juniper berries, ginger and bay leaf. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, shallot and thyme. Bring just to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Let the brine cool completely.
2. Strain the brine into clean glass jars and add the blackberries. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 week before serving.
(Make Ahead The pickled blackberries can be refrigerated for up to 3 months. )
(Note- the Blackberries at Yoder’s Produce Market have been the perfect balance between sweet and tart.
(Always available frozen at Butcher Block, if you need them unthawed just give them a buzz 2 days ahead of time. I think they have the best around.
- 4 12- to 14-ounce boneless duck breast halves, trimmed of excess fat
- 4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 6 firm but ripe Santa Rosa plums or other purple plums, halved, pitted
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Using sharp knife, score skin of duck breasts in crisscross pattern (cut skin only; do not cut through meat), spacing cuts 1 inch apart. Sprinkle duck breasts on both sides with 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and chill.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Toss plum halves, olive oil, sugar, 1 teaspoon thyme, remaining 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Grill plum halves, cut side down, until grill marks appear and plums begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Turn plums over and grill, skin side down, until skin begins to soften but plums still retain their shape, about 4 minutes. Transfer plums to bowl. Cover with foil and let stand while cooking duck.
Heat 2 large skillets over medium-high heat. Add 2 duck breasts, skin side down, to each skillet. Cook until skin is crisp and golden, about 7 minutes. Turn duck breasts over and cook to desired doneness, about 8 minutes longer for medium-rare. Remove from heat and let duck rest 5 minutes.
Thinly slice duck crosswise. Divide among plates. Place 2 plum halves alongside each serving. Drizzle any plum juices from bowl over. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons thyme and serve
Serve with a side of pickled blackberries.