Berries are bountiful, beautiful, and can be combined in ways you might not expect. Have you ever heard of a Clafoutis? Or a berry salsa? Check out the recipes!

The Last Free Thing on This Planet: Wild Berries!!!

By Chef Jeremy McLachlan

You may consider yourself an upstanding citizen, but like the rest of us, I know that you have probably picked blackberries from somebody's else's land! Whether you are walking through your favorite park, jumping into the neighbor's yard or stopping on the side of the road, everyone knows what you have done! Wild blackberries are one of the last free things on this planet (besides air), and no one ever questions what those people on the side of the road are looking for in the bushes this time of year. (It's even more understandable now that blackberries top the list for bioflavonoids in a study that food blogger Kathy Kingen highlights in her Berry Juicy News.)

The bushy, thorny, spider-filled bushes make picking blackberries a treasure hunt that is worth every prick from their thorns. I recommend keeping an eye on your favorite spot to make sure you are one of the first to go picking when they are fresh. Frustration always sets in quickly for me when the big beautiful blackberries are out of reach. If you have a tall friend or know an NBA player, ask them to join you.

My favorite and most exhausting-to-pick summer berry is the huckleberry, but with the rising price and high demand they are sadly becoming scarce. These little acidic but sweet jewels are so fragile that by the time you get them home after picking, they start to fall apart.

Found all over the Pacific Northwest, wild blackberries are the best that you can find. I like to use them in a nice cobbler or clafoutis. They are also great in pancakes and jams. How about a fun salsa to drizzle over fresh salmon? This month I am giving you two recipes to use with your stolen berries: clafoutis and blackberry salsa.

Wild Blackberry Clafoutis Recipe

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

1 stick butter, unsalted
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 pints blackberries, rinsed and dry

Directions

Add the stick of butter to a medium-size casserole dish and place in oven at 350 degrees F.
Cook for 5 minutes or until butter is melted (this is a good time to preheat the oven).
Pull the hot dish out of the oven and mix in sugar, flour, milk, salt and baking powder. Mix until there are no clumps.
Sprinkle the blackberries on top and then bake at 350 for one hour.
The berries will sink to the bottom while cooking.
Finish with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If you want to make it even more special, orange Creamsicle® is the best.

Wild Blackberry Salsa Recipe

Yield 2 cups

Ingredients

1 pint blackberries, rinsed and dried
1 small shallot, minced
6 mint leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch white pepper

Directions

Clean and dry your blackberries.
Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Fifteen minutes before serving (just about how long it takes to grill salmon or chicken), mix the blackberries and the refrigerated mixture together and taste for salt.
Place on the top of your protein and enjoy!!!

Read Chef Jeremy McLachlan's writing on Salty's Seafood Grills website too.

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