This post is sponsored by the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission. I received a gift card and accessories as reimbursement for ingredients and time. My grandfather owned a raspberry farm when I was a kid. We used to go pick for him when the berries were ripe. It was always hot, the raspberries vines were prickly and there were bugs. Even being the outdoor kid I was, I was kinda miserable. I think we were paid about 10 cents per pound we picked. The summer I was about 11 or 12 years old, I wanted a pair of leather boots, more than anything. I picked as fast as I could that summer and earned $40, just enough for my boots and a wild sense of accomplishment.
After a few years of that, I got my first not-for-a-relative, real job. It was working for a local berry cannery, Scenic Fruit. Are you seeing the theme here? I worked in the evening, after the farmers had brought in the fruit that was picked that day. Several of us stood at a conveyer belt, sorting through the raspberries and blackberries before they were dumped off the end of the line to be processed into frozen bags or made into jam. One summer of that was enough for me. Ironically, I now live less than three miles from that same cannery.
You might think, given how much of my childhood was surrounded in berries, that I might be sick of them. Not even a little. I still love berries, and there’s nothing like the ones grown here in Oregon. They’re great fresh, blended, cooked – you name it, and I’ve tried them all. I ate so many berries the summer I was pregnant with my daughter, I was afraid she was going to come out all red and covered in seeds.
Needless to say, when the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission contacted me about coming up with a recipe or two, I jumped at the chance!
I was only going to make a smoothie (which you’ll see on Wednesday), but when I received the package it had the cutest dressing carafe in it. So I decided we’re going to have Raspberry week!
I made a double batch of the dressing, poured about a cup into the carafe before adding the poppy seeds, and saved the rest to marinade the chicken. It worked out perfectly for four large chicken breasts. I left them in the marinade in the fridge for about 3 hours, then my husband cooked them on the barbeque.
Raspberry Poppy Seed Dressing
1/4 onion (I used Walla Walla Sweets, since they’re in season), chopped into large chunks
8 ounces raspberries
8 ounces water
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Cook the onion, raspberries and water over medium heat until they begin to simmer, then lower heat to keep them just barely simmering. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the onions are soft and the berries have fallen apart. Strain out the berries and onion, keeping the liquid. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk or shake well. Refrigerate.
The chicken does pick up a definite pink hue when you marinate it, but it was delicious. For the remainder of the salad, I used a spring greens and spinach blend, feta cheese, toasted hazelnuts, chopped avocado and cooked, crumbled turkey bacon.
This combination was amazing, and the berries were definitely the star of the show. The flavor came out in the chicken, and then adding a few whole berries along with the dressing brought it all together. I would eat this every day, all summer long.