Sometimes we get lucky. We start out with one ingredient and end up with a dish that is so flexible, it turns into two, three, or even four different dishes before the night is over. This is one of those recipes. Start with a nice fresh piece of halibut. Clean out the fridge and find two pints of blueberries that you forgot you bought last weekend and a head of lettuce. Presto change-o and you’ve got blueberry jam, blueberry sauce, and blueberry salad dressing!
Before we get to the recipe, a few caveats.
1) This recipe is incredibly flexible. Feel free to play around with the level of hot pepper, vanilla, and bourbon. Add more or less sugar depending on your taste and the quality of your blueberries.
2) This recipe IS NOT DESIGNED FOR CANNING. While it makes excellent jam, I haven’t added any acid to the mix, which is one of the key elements you need for safe canning. While the resultant preserves will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks and in the freezer for a couple of months, it’s not safe for canning. Please follow established canning recipes if you’re planning on making blueberry jam or jelly for long term storage.
Blueberry Bourbon Vanilla Jam
- 2 pints fresh blueberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 ounce bourbon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
- Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the jam has started to thicken, approximately 30-40 minutes.
- Cool slightly, and send through a food mill to press the jam from the blueberry skins.
- Set aside 4 ounces of the jam for the blueberry sauce.
Notes: Feel free to play around with the level of vanilla and bourbon in this recipe. Or if you don’t have bourbon, you can even leave it out. You should end up with about 3 ounces of jam after you set aside the 4 ounces for the sauce recipe.
Blueberry Balsamic Sauce, adapted from MaryBeth’s Blueberry Balsamic Sauce
- 1 small to medium onion, minced
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 4 oz blueberry jam
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 Tbsp white vinegar
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the onions for 5-10 minutes, or until the onions have taken on a lovely golden color.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for approximately 5 minutes.
- Serve over fish, chicken, or pork or cool slightly and serve over salad greens.
Notes: Taste the sauce after you’ve simmered it for 5 minutes (but be careful, it’s hot!) and see if the vinegar has cooked off enough. There’s a lot of vinegar in this recipe and if it hasn’t cooked off enough, continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes. The butter in the sauce takes the place of the oil in a typical oil and vinegar salad dressing and lends a nice roundness to the dressing. We served the sauce hot over halibut and let it cool a bit and used it to top our salad greens. It was so good as a salad dressing that we both had seconds on the salad.
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