Tuesday, May 27, 2014

One Great . . . berry salad

Summer berries look so lovely, so promising and full of flavor.

Except when they're not. The prettiest fruit can be disappointing, maybe not as sweet or as ripe as you had hoped.

With a whole list of award-winning books, including "1000 Italian Recipes" and "A Fresh Taste of Italy," Michelle Scicolone is an expert on simple but great Italian recipes. Looking through her new book, "The Italian Vegetable Cookbook," I spotted a recipe that told me I'm not the only one who sometimes needs fruit to get a little help.

She uses apricot jam, lemon juice and a little liqueur to boost the sweetness. You can adapt it, replacing the apricot jam with raspberry or blackberry jam, and using cherry liqueur instead of orange. You can skip the liqueur, too. While this is called a salad, and could be served next to roasted meat, it also can be a dessert, on ice cream or with a very simple cake.

Berry Salad 

From "The Italian Vegetable Cookbook," by Michelle Scicolone (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014).

3 tablespoons apricot jam
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau (optional)
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cups raspberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup blueberries

WHISK together the jam, lemon juice and liqueur (if using) in a medium bowl. Add the fruit and stir gently to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

YIELD: 4 servings.