June 22nd, 2010

Raspberry Heaven

hero raspberry salad

A couple of weeks ago Gigi called me from her Wedgewood Urban Gardens, positively ecstatic. “You are never going to believe what I found in the garden today. Never!”

Her garden is a vast oasis in an otherwise sketchy part of town, the lower lot filled now with all manner of herbs, blooming flowers, greens, fennel, and fruit trees—the upper acre has rows and rows dedicated to tomatoes, beans, squashes, asparagus, beets. I couldn’t imagine what she had discovered.

Before I could even hazard a guess, her voice boomed,

“Raspberries! American Black Raspberries! I didn’t even know I had these plants. The birds didn’t know either. They are HUGE.”

american black raspberries

The next day, I met her at the garden to do some picking. Wow. Rushes of berries were coming in—in addition to her plump black raspberries, she had plants covered with red and, gasp, golden raspberries. Fantastic! I had never seen golden raspberries growing before. Never!

We moved with care from bush to bush, examining the little gems, selecting the ripest–the ones that come off in your hand with the least effort. The sun was hot, the canes a bit prickly, but no matter. We were in raspberry heaven.

With our community pot luck on the horizon, we wanted to be sure to include these precious fruits in some special dishes.

raspberry vinaigrette

Raspberry cobbler was a given. And Gigi was vying for a Raspberry Barbecue Sauce for grilled chicken. (Sounds strange, but I did make it at the last minute– without a recipe–for our cookout and it turned out really well—that’s another post…)

But I wanted to make something to showcase the raspberries—especially those goldens—so you could actually see them before you ate them.

Gigi also had a nice crop of beets getting fat in the ground, bulging above the soil. I had a vision of a stacked salad: layers of sliced roasted beets on top of frisee, followed by goat cheese, then the red and golden raspberries. I’d make a vinaigrette from the black raspberries and drizzle it over each layer. The colors and flavors would be knock-out.

This raspberry vinaigrette is different from the ones we’ve all seen and tasted for the past 20 plus years. Because it’s made with gently cooked berries and not berry-infused vinegar, the dressing is thick and intensely sweet-tart raspberry.

Honestly, it would be equally delicious spooned over ice cream. In fact, the whole beet-berry salad stack had a spectacular reeling Sundae dessert look to it. Heavenly…

roasted beets

Stacked Roasted Beet-Raspberry Salad
Mixed Greens or Frisee
6 Roasted Beets, sliced
4 oz. Goat Cheese
1 pint Fresh Raspberries
Black Raspberry Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Place a layer of salad greens on the base of platter. Lay out slices of roasted beets in a circle on top of the greens. Sprinkle with goat cheese, then with raspberries. Drizzle with raspberry vinaigrette, and repeat the stack.
serves 6

overview salad

Black Raspberry Vinaigrette
1 cup Black Raspberries (or red!)
3 T. Sugar
3 T. Red Wine Vinegar
4 T. Balsamic Vinegar
Black Pepper
1 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a saucepan, gently cook the raspberries and sugar together, until the berries release their juices and the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.
Place into a food processor fitted with a swivel blade. Add vinegars, a little salt and coarse ground black pepper, and pulse together. Drizzle in the olive oil while processing until vinaigrette is thickened and emulsified. Taste and adjust for sweetness, acid, salt and pepper.

square closeup

greens and beets

Posted in Fruit, Recipes, Salads, Sauces

17 Responses to “Raspberry Heaven”
  1. Mary Says:

    You came up with some wonderful ways to use the bounty of your friend’s garden. I especially love that vinaigrette. You were curious about the contests. If you do a google search on Mary Bergfeld Recipe Contest most of the wins of the past five years will be pulled up. Interestingly, the trip to Hawaii was the result of winning the Kraft Comida contest. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  2. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Says:

    Nancy, I am so jealous, and that’s not easy to do! Those black raspberries look so plump! Much to my dismay, I’ve never tasted a golden raspberry, they are intriguing. This is truly heaven! and I can’t wait to get rich so that I can leave the city, and buy tons of land so that I can grow my own food!

    By the way, Wedgewood Urban Gardens reminds me of Wedgewood fine dishware, any relation?

  3. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Mary-many thanks for sharing info about your contest wins—-Impressive!

    Christine–Having read about all your wonderful travel adventures (which make me jealous! :) ) your comment makes me smile. I think that you’ll come across some golden raspberries very soon.
    And, no relation to the fine china….the garden takes its name from the avenue it’s on.

  4. FOODESSA Says:

    Once again Nancy…you’re driving me nuts or should I say BERRIES!!!
    What wonderful garden outings you have. So incredibly inspirational. It’s of no surprise how you come up with these flavourful dishes ;o)
    The black berries brought back particular cherished memories of when I was a child vacationing in my Father’s tiny Italian village. We used to make the most amazing syrup. Now, I wish I would actually remember the exact recipe…unfortunately…it will most probably remain as a memory.
    Thanks for your very appetizing recipes.
    Ciao for now and have a great week,

  5. Judy Says:

    That looks almost too pretty to eat! But, if it were presented to me, I would devour it. Doesn’t nature give us such nice surprises…

  6. Wendy Says:

    Last Thursday’s salad was delicious–the beets had an earthy, real food taste, perfect with the raspberries and the dressing. In fact, the whole evening had a misty, magical, back to the earth feel. Such a treat to be able to feast in Nature’s dining room.

  7. Fluffy Says:

    you are amazing
    and that salad stack tasted great

  8. Denise | Chez Danisse Says:

    Oh my gosh–what fun! So…tell us how the three types differ. I know you did a taste test. I’ve seen the red and golden, but never black. Exciting stuff! Your salad looks fantastic, delicious and I love all of those pretty shades of red.

  9. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Denise–I loved all three varieties; the red and gold were similar in their “raspberry-ness”—goldens were a little tarter ….had to taste blind, as perception of color does influence our experience
    the surprise black raspberries were plump with deep, rich berry sweetness

    all in all, great fun!

    Wendy—perfect description of our meal: “feasting in Nature’s dining room.”

    Claudia—-glad this triggered a fond food memory for you. have a great week, too!

  10. Michele Napoli Says:

    I love the recipes you came up with–everything looks delicious. As a child, I would look forward to harvesting our raspberries every summer and fall, probably eating more than was kept.

  11. Katie@Cozydelicious Says:

    Ooooh, raspberries haven;t quite ripened here yet, but I can’t wait! Your vinagrette looks amazing and bright and beautiful.

  12. claudette Says:

    I love the colors of the raspberries; I have never seen golden ones before. So pretty.

  13. rachel Says:

    What a wonderful, inspired salad and dressing (to be tried) and wonderful berries. Do you think feta could work as well? I miss English raspberries and intend to gorge myself when I go back next weekend.

  14. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Rachel—Feta would be delicious, no doubt!. Safe journey, happy gorging!

  15. foodonfifth.com, Teresa Blackburn Says:

    Wow, what a great way to use those very special berries…Black raspberries! I am not even sure I knew they existed?
    I love the photos and the recipe is wonderful.

  16. Baking Serendipity Says:

    What a beautiful salad! I’m super jealous of such an awesome garden, and these berries look like an awesome surprise!

  17. Nix Says:

    You have an amazing blog! Your food photography is so delectable.

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