No matter how quickly modern transport can bring southern hemisphere fruits and vegetables to Americans, it’s not the same as savoring those first-of-the-season offerings grown closer to home.
Fortunately, Washington’s fresh blueberry season is beginning just about now. The state is the nation’s top blueberry producer. The first harvests are starting in the eastern part of the state, which will be followed a about a week later in the west.
There are many healthy reasons that have driven the increase in blueberry consumption. Among them is that about 85 percent of the Washington crop is certified as organic. According to the USDA, blueberries are rich in anti-oxidants and also rich in vitamin C, manganese and fiber. You could make a good case for eating blueberries as a healthy thing to do, but this digital magazine is about taste. We found an intriguing recipe at the website of the Washington Blueberry Commission and, though we haven’t yet tried it, believe it will be the centerpiece of a very appealing Sunday dinner soon. The recipe was created by Seattle-area chef Thomas Litrenta, who’s now at Rustica in Oak Harbor.
Washington Blueberry Balsamic Glazed Chicken
2 Tbsp organic canola oil
2 Tbsp organic butter
2 cups plus 3 Tbsp organic WA blueberries
1/2 cup organic balsamic
1/2 cup organic maple syrup
2 Tbsp organic rosemary – chopped fine
1 whole organic chicken – broken down into thigh, leg, breast
1/4 cup organic shallots – sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 Tbsp oil and butter in a heavy nonreactive skillet, when butter starts to bubble add chicken. Cook the chicken over med-high heat until golden brown, about 2 min per side or until a light crust begins to form.
Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add remaining oil and butter to skillet and when hot add the shallots. Cook shallots until lightly caramelized, about 4 min. Add 2 cups of fresh Washington blueberries and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in vinegar, maple syrup, rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes or until blueberries have collapsed. Add the chicken back into the pan and spoon sauce over chicken.
Place in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the thermometer reads 165 degrees.
Garnish with remaining Washington blueberries.