Chanterelles are my favorite wild mushroom, and raspberries my favorite wild fruit, and in both cases it’s the aroma as much as the taste that I’m drawn to. In the case of the wild raspberries we find at Bide-A-Wee, I’m fortunate to find pleasure in a bowl full of splendid smells, because it’s right difficult to gather any quantity of berries. While we have raspberry canes in abundance, those canes don’t tend to bear a lot of fruit. We don’t have this problem--well, not a problem, exactly, more just a situation--with black raspberries or blackberries, but our red raspberries rarely seem to be well pollinated. Many blossoms simply don’t turn to fruit at all, while others form only partial berries. Here I must note that I was about to refer to the many individual sub-berries that make up a single raspberry as “dem little doots,” but mindful that my friend Teresa Marrone might be reading this, and with her splendid tome Abundantly Wild close at hand, I can report dat dem little doots is properly referred to as globular drupes. Which actually doesn’t sound all that different, when you look at it.
Anyway: When picking raspberries from our Bide-A-Wee patches, one is rarely dropping full berries into the bowl, but rather is usually gathering dem little doots--er, dem glopular droops, I mean, oh, skip it…. Even so, even with the doot-drupe situation of unfulfilled berries, I can collect a small fragrant bowl in just a short while; not enough for jams or such, but plenty enough to appreciate that wonderful smell, and to cook down a bit to mix with some of my friend Mala’s rockin’ homemade whole grain mustard as a glaze for grilled chicken, a condiment to enliven a sausage--mixed grill for another Bide-A-Wee bachelor dinner. Mary’s been subsisting on Maid-Rites this past weekend at a family reunion in, well, where would you expect to find a Maid-Rite, a.k.a., "loose meat sandwich" (Look out! Meat on the loose!)?
Has to be the great state of Iowa.
Oh, and the other thing I like about raspberries: It’s the red.
1 cup raspberries
1 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp grain mustard
Espelette or cayenne to taste, optional
Wine or raspberry vinegar to thin the glaze, if needed
Combine the raspberries with about one tablespoon of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring for two or three minutes, just until the berries become soft. Press the berries through a strainer, scraping the bottom of the strainer to get the thicker pulp. Return the juice to the saucepan with the honey, bring to a boil, and reduce by half. Pour the mixture into a small bowl and let cool. Add the mustard and a good pinch of salt, and the chili if desired.
For a glaze for grilled meat or fowl, thin with a little vinegar (or wine, or beer) if it seems too thick. Brush on at the very end of grilling and watch carefully to prevent burning.
Text and photos copyright 2010 by Brett Laidlaw