Teensy-tiny little blackberries (or black raspberries) are ripening fast and furious on the bushes in my front yard. But because they are so teensy-tiny, it has taken 2 days of dodging razor-sharp thorns to pick a whopping 6 ounces so far. Have you ever attempted to pick blackberries (or raspberries)? Hybridized berry bushes have been bred to the point of practically thornless. But wild bushes, like the ones I have courtesy of some anonymous bird, not only have thorns that could slice a car in half, even the leaves could make a cactus cry uncle. But it is totally worth the risk because the flavor is sweeter than any domesticated variety.
Tip alert! To extend the life of these delicate delights, place about a cup of blackberries, black raspberries, red raspberries, or even blueberries in a bowl. Pour in a mixture of 2 cups of cold tap water and 1/4 cup of white vinegar. Let sit a minute or so, then drain well. Gently blot remaining moisture with paper towels, then place in a paper-towel-lined ventilated container. The one that store-bought berries usually come in is perfect. Stored in the fridge after their bath, the berries will remain mold-free up to an additional week!
I saw a lovely salad at The Arugula Files, and felt a great need to clone it. I didn't make the dressing suggested, mostly because I didn't have poppy seeds in stock and had nothing else comparable to sub. Next time I go shopping I'll have to pick up some. In the meantime, bottled dressing had to do.
In case you are wondering why you can't see any dressing on the salad, the battery in my camera inconveniently pooped out. So no photos with grape tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions or parm cheese either (I built the salad out of order ... sue me). But please take my word that words cannot express the party my mouth threw when I tasted the finished product.
What looks like "croutons" are really diced whole-grain sandwich thingies. I could have sauteed or toasted them in a little oil or butter. But I didn't. Think of them as low-fat fresh croutons.
This is really a non-recipe recipe. All the quantities below can be adjusted to taste. Leave out an ingredient, or toss in your favorite salad component if you prefer. Feel free to substitute red raspberries or strawberries. Leave out the parmesan for a vegan alternative.
Blackberry Salad - Easy
Loosely based on The Arugula Files
Yields 1 serving
Large handful of baby greens
1/4 red sweet pepper, diced
one thin slice of a large red onion, rings separated
8 grape tomatoes
1/4 cup blackberries
2 Tbl. toasted almonds
small handful of croutons
1 Tbl. shaved Parmesan cheese
2 Tbl. of your favorite dressing, freshly mixed or bottled
Place greens on a salad plate or bowl. Layer on remaining ingredients except the dressing. Drizzle on the dressing and serve immediately.